4 Venice to Europe - Western Mediterranean Carnival Breeze Cruise Reviews

We are an active couple in our 60's who do one or two cruises a year. The last two/three years we have found the Celebrity Solstice class ships particularly to our liking (Especially the "Aqua Class") We haven't done a ... Read More
We are an active couple in our 60's who do one or two cruises a year. The last two/three years we have found the Celebrity Solstice class ships particularly to our liking (Especially the "Aqua Class") We haven't done a Carnival cruise since 1998 as our very first cruise was on the Carnival Ecstasy (The infamous fire cruise of "98). We picked this particular cruise for its itinerary, the time of year, the new ship and the value. We also were wondering how the newest Carnival product would stack up against the competition. We were optimistic but had low expectations. Except for one area we would give the Carnival Breeze good grades and would not hesitate to recommend it to fellow cruisers but with some cautionary thoughts. The Specifics: Boarding process: In Venice it was slick as a whistle and was on the ship and in the stateroom within 30 minutes of arriving at the terminal. One hint in Venice is to share a dedicated water Taxi from your hotel (Look on Critic's "Roll Call" for people to share the Taxi and the cost.) to the port. It drops you off within easy walking distance and they handle the luggage right where the Taxi let's you off. Very painless. Stateroom; We had a Cloud 9 Spa Balcony Cabin on Deck 12 and it was fine. bed was comfortable, plenty of storage and bathroom was a good size. The shower was not quite up to "Aqua class" standards but was still fine. This stateroom got you unlimited access to the Spa facilities which were every equal of Celebrities. Since it was on the same floor as the stateroom it was very easy to use. The "Spa" people were friendly and didn't push products or services. There were specials thru out the cruise. If you get a massage, ask for "Kerry" as she is a delight and her swedish massage was to die for. I had 4 on this 12 day cruise when I would usually only have 1 or 2 a cruise. My wife was very understanding. Food: Judgement on food is always a personal issue so what we like you may not. However, I would give the main dinning rooms on the breeze good marks. The menu's where varied with things that were always available and the day's "Specials" The food was presented nicely and was tasty. I had a great steak on "Steak Night" and the Lobster tails where especially tasty. Of course carnival also has the Chocolate Melting Cake which is a standard all its own. We did anytime dining and never had to wait for a table. On the Breeze, like most new ships, it has many food outlets other than the main dinning room and the buffet. So the variety is good and you should always be able to fine something to your liking. We especially liked the BBQ outlet (Sea days only), Guy's hamburgers and the Tandori Kitchen. My wife and I did do the Chef;s kitchen and had dinner in the galley. It was fun and unique so we would reccomend if the budget would allow ($75 per person). Fellow Passengers: This was a 12 day cruise over Labor day. Although there were some families with children, there were not many. I would say the average age was younger than most cruises but it was a relative tame crowd. This cruise had American's in the majority but there were large British, European (I met my first Russian) Canadian and Australian contingents (Boy that has to be a long flight from Australia to Venice) I would say the extremes in rowdiness and old age were missing which I personally found to my liking. So I liked this crowd even more than Celebrity which I would say tends to be an older crowd. But I think this all depends more on when you cruise than which cruise line it is. Ports: Venice, Dubrovnik,Sicily, Naples, Sardinia, Rome, Florence, Monaco and Barcelona .....What's not to like. The Ship: Clean, modern with lots of great places to relax and enjoy the cruise. I did not see to many chair hogs but that could be due to new Carnival Policy. Ship did not seem overly crowed with 4,000 passengers on. Crew: Personable and seemed to try and please. Laundry: I think the Breeze had the best setup of all the ships. Laundry rooms were spread throughout the ship and you could use your sail and sign card for money. Beats bringing a roll of quarters. Casino: Smoke free so you didn't tread going through it when you wanted to GO from front to back of ship. So new design I think is a winner for Carnival. So what is the negative? Entertainment: Again I think this is a personal taste issue so what I like you may not. The main production shows where high energy with excellent singers and dancers. But the main productions shows are designed for a younger demographic than us as we only recognized half the songs and the volume was way up there. Also Carnival 2.0 has swapped high tech electronics for live orchestras in the production shows. And they continually rotate the 4 shows over the two week cruise so there were nights when there was nothing new to go see. Also the entertainment throughout the ship was hit or miss and again geared to a younger age bracket. So again in summary, the quality was good but it was aimed to a younger crowd. You know some like Andre Bocelli while others like Lady Gaga. Carnival Tours; We did two ship arranged tours and two with non ship vendors arranged with the help of "Critics" roll call. All went well. Carnivals tour guides were knowledgeable and we had a great time on those tours. Embarkation: Did Carnival transfer to airport in Barcelona and it was quick, painless and well worth the money (About $25 per person). You tag you luggage, put it outside your stateroom the last night by 11PM and you pick it up at the Airport. No trying to find it at the cruise terminal or lugging it through customs. We will do Carnival transfers next time for sure. So there you go, The Carnival Breeze" provided a great cruise and we will gladly use Carnival again. But the cautionary advice is to know what you are seeking in a cruise and understand the Calendar. I suspect if we had done the same cruise in July or early August or sail the Caribbean over Spring Break we might not be so positive about the whole experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Overview: Carnival more than met our expectations on this cruise. This was only our third cruise (all with Carnival), and we were excited to check out the new Breeze during its inaugural season. We had a fantastic time, and would ... Read More
Overview: Carnival more than met our expectations on this cruise. This was only our third cruise (all with Carnival), and we were excited to check out the new Breeze during its inaugural season. We had a fantastic time, and would recommend this ship for a fun time. Booking: We booked on-line ourselves, without using any travel agents. We booked "early saver," and benefitted from two price reductions, leaving us with over $1,100 in onboard credit (which we easily used up). Travel to port: We arrived in Venice two nights before the cruise so we could spend more time there and not worry about possible delayed flights, late luggage, etc. Stayed in a great boutique hotel. On day of embarkation, it was a bit of a hassle to get us and our luggage to the ship, using the water bus and people mover. We also had to haul our luggage ourselves to what seemed like a warehouse -- not close to the ship -- even though we were VIP. But there were no lines at the luggage dropoff point, so that went smoothly. Embarkation: We had VIP embarkation because we had an Ocean Suite. The lines weren't long for either group. Our agent seemed new and inexperienced and he had trouble processing our credit card (he said the computers were down), so we had to get our sign and sail cards and then later visit Guest Services to complete the registration process. The security lines were very back-logged, but we picked the shorter line and got through without waiting too much. Our stateroom was ready as soon as we boarded, and our luggage arrived very quickly. Incident on day of embarkation: A freak rain and wind storm hit Venice on our day of embarkation. You can find videos of what happened on YouTube. In short, the winds snapped our docking lines, our ship broke loose, as did the river cruise ship next to us. We hit each other a few times, and the local authorities had to send tug boats in to help. Carnival handled it well, making frequent announcements about the status of the incident and the resolution. After a few hours, everything was back to normal. The Captain issued a letter the next day explaining in more detail what happened (we never got it, due to inattentive cabin steward -- see below). I don't hold this freak incident against Carnival at all. They handled the emergency well. Cabin: Our Ocean Suite (7363) was fantastic. The stateroom was spacious, well appointed, and lovely. The king bed was so comfy. Slept like a baby the entire cruise. Never felt the ocean (mid-ship location is perfect). We were close to the elevator bank, stairwell, and laundry room. The walk-in closets exceeded expectations. And the bathroom was more like a hotel room's, with marble counters, double sinks, jacuzzi tub/shower combo, with sliding shower doors (I hate curtains). Big balcony had chaise, 2 chairs, table, and plenty of privacy. Cabin attendant: Our room steward never came to introduce himself to us. He never called us by name. We embarked on a Sunday, and didn't receive bars of soap until Wednesday. The other "freebie" toiletries didn't arrive until Tuesday. Ice bucket was filled some days, not on others. We did get clean towels and bed made and/or turned down each day, with cute towel animals most nights. I rated the service a 4 instead of a 5 because of the room steward. We basically felt ignored by him. (Contrast the rating for the dining staff, below; they were more attentive.) Spa: We took the "tour" on embarkation day. It was more of an attempt to sell us treatments as opposed to touring the facilities. I booked one massage that day, because it was raining and it seemed like a good use of time. The bamboo massage was excellent, but when it ended, the staff tried to sell me all kinds of expensive products that I didn't need or want to hear about. It put a damper on the relaxing experience to get a hard sell on products. I didn't use the spa after that. Dining: We had "your time dining" and ate dinner in the main dining room every night, usually around 9 pm or later. The food was mostly good -- sometimes excellent (the lobster!!) -- and sometimes disappointing. But we were never unhappy. The service was always excellent and fast. I don't like the nightly "show" put on by the servers, but most of the other diners seemed to. The staff were very responsive to our needs, and were especially accommodating to our late arrivals with large groups of people (we made lots of CC and Facebook friends in advance of the cruise). For lunches, we loved Guy's Burgers, the BBQ (only on sea days), and the Blue Iguana cantina (fabulous chicken and pork tacos). Breakfasts on the Lido deck buffet were always hectic and crowded, but the food was good. They ran out of coffee cups too often, and the design of the beverage stations ensured lines. They shouldn't have the drinks squished into corners, because it really limits access. The Punchliner brunches had really excellent food, although the "shows" were just a blip on the screen since they were so short. Entertainment: We didn't see any of the musical shows; we ate dinner so late that we missed them all. The adult comedy shows were great, although seating was tight (standing room only for the late showings). Cruise director: We were expecting to have John Heald, Carnival's senior cruise director, as our CD. Unfortunately, he had to have surgery in August so they assigned Butch to be our CD. Butch was fine, but I'm such a fan of John that I was disappointed. John came on the ship towards the very end of the cruise and I got to meet him in person. That was fun. Pools: Two pools, plenty of jacuzzis, and no issues with deck chairs after Carnival implemented its "no chair hogging" policy. We used the Serenity Deck and loved relaxing on sea days (which were few). Not too many kids on this sailing (since school in the US had already started), so maybe that's why the pools didn't seem too crowded (they aren't huge). Exercise room: It was large, modern, and well appointed. I didn't use it! Other features: The dual water slide was a blast. Sorry I didn't have more time to use it, but the ports were the main focus of this cruise. The ropes course was also great fun. Lots of things for kids to do; we don't have any kids but I kept thinking how much fun my nieces and nephews would have on the sports deck. Doctor: Unfortunately, my husband got sick during the cruise and had occasion to visit the medical office. He got good service, without having to wait, and at a reasonable cost (about $150 per visit, which we hope to submit to our health insurance company at home). Casino: We live in California and go to Vegas when we want to gamble. The odds are better there, and they give you free drinks when you gamble. So we avoided the ship's casino. When we walked through it, it seemed smoky (I hate smoke). Internet access: Even though we were on vacation, hubby and I had to keep up with emails from work, so we signed up for the pricey 1000-minute Internet package. The connection was really good for most of the cruise, although the log-off process is cumbersome with an iPhone or iPad (and caused us to burn many minutes to disconnect). We ended up having to buy 2 more packages as the cruise went on. Would love to see unlimited access package on future cruises. Port excursions: These ports were the main reason we chose this sailing. Every one was fantastic. We didn't do any Carnival excursions; we did four Rome In Limo tours (Messina, Naples, Rome, Florence), and did all the other ports on our own. Rome In Limo is the BEST!! (I did a separate review of them on another page on CC, so I won't repeat that info here.) With over 4,000 passengers on this ship, we expected a mess trying to get off and on the ship at the various ports. To the contrary, it was a breeze. We never had to wait a second to exit, and at best, had to wait about one minute in line to get back on. (And even though Carnival screens your bags upon return, they don't seem to care if you are carrying on wine or alcohol after visiting the ports in Europe. We brought on wine and limoncello in several ports.) Debarkation: We arrived in Barcelona at the crack of dawn on our final day. I had no desire to get off the ship early, so we did self-assist (i.e., carried our own luggage off). Until around 9 am, there were no lines to get off. We waited until after that (so we could sleep in), and had to wait about 30 minutes to debark. It was worth the wait to sleep in. We didn't have to go through customs or anything, and headed straight to the taxi line. Ugh! Thousands of people in line! It took a long time to catch a taxi to our hotel. Summary: I LOVED THIS CRUISE. We had a great time. We got more than our money's worth. The ship is new and beautiful, the dining options are good and plentiful, the entertainment is fun, and the European ports are magical. It wasn't 100% perfect, but nothing ever is. We had so much fun with our friends, new and old, and have fantastic memories of our Breeze cruise. In reading some of the other reviews, I can't help but wonder if the complainers are simply unhappy people. If you can't thoroughly enjoy yourself while vacationing on a brand new ship in Europe, then maybe the problem is not with the cruise! Enjoy!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Just got off the Carnival Breeze 12-day Mediterranean cruise from Venice to Barcelona and we had the best time ever! The ship is beautiful and the quality of the food, cabins, entertainment and overall experience was outstanding. To ... Read More
Just got off the Carnival Breeze 12-day Mediterranean cruise from Venice to Barcelona and we had the best time ever! The ship is beautiful and the quality of the food, cabins, entertainment and overall experience was outstanding. To break it downn, here are the key likes (and only one dislike): Embarkation - was very smooth and painless. We had flown into Venice the night before and stayed at the Hilton Molino Stucky (exceleent hotel, BTW, highly recommended). We found some fellow cruisers through CC to share a private water taxi from the hotel to the cruise port. When we reached, uniformed porters were waiting to take our bags and we were immediately directed to the terminal. Inside, there were 2 lines, VIP to the left and all others to the right. The VIP line was super fast and we cleared security and had our sign and sail cards within 15 minutes. This was way better than previous boarding experiences in Seattle and Miami. Ship - the Breeze is gorgeous! We were on the Valor in April which we really liked but had found the decor a touch gaudy. The Breeze is much more chic and refined, more use of hard woods everywhere and soothing, non-neon colors. Very elegant. Lots of elevators everywhere and beautiful corridors with Caribbean themes. Cabin - we were in a Grand Suite which was fantastic! On Deck 7 (Empress) and super quiet with passenger decks above and below. Huge suite (345 sq ft) with a large balcony (85 sq ft). The cabin appointments were great. We had a king bed, huge sitting area with suede-fabric sofas and chaise lounge plus another chair. We had a massive 52" TV that was positioned between the bed and sitting area and could be swiveled depending on where you wanted to watch TV. Also had a very large dressing area with 2 massive closets and a dressing table. The bathroom was the best with double marble topped sinks, ample storage space and huge whirlpool tub. Excellent hot water and good pressurized shower. This was the first ship bathroom I've had that was comparable to a land based hotel bathroom. The balcony was huge with two sitting chairs and little table plus a lounger. Well worth having the GS on a 12-day cruise! Our room steward Reidi did a good job looking after us, but in fairness, we are pretty neat to start with. He was diligent about keeping our ice bucket filled twice daily which we really needed in view of the very hot weather. Public Areas -- these were wonderful. I loved Deck 5 where most of the bars and lounges were. My favorite was the area before the casino, where you had the coffee bar, the Taste Bar that served little tapas style portions of the dishes being served in the various eateries that day and the Ocean Plaza. This is an indoor-outdoor area (you go through automatic sliding doors to access the outdoor area) where you can sit and order drinks, eat. Etc. They also have the Fat Jimmy's C-side BBQ there on sea days. Another favorite area was the Breeze Atrium. They have an area where singers perform nightly and its great fun to sit and watch. Food -- excellent! We were impressed by the Valor's food in April and the Breeze maintains that high standard. The MDR had consistently high quality entrees. Even on days where we didn't like some of the selections, we were always able to pick something we liked. The food was of uniformly high quality and some of the selections were truly outstanding (the teriyaki salmon is to die for). Great desserts too! Also, the quality of the coffee served is a big improvement over the Valor. We were prepared to pay extra for espressos and cappuccinos but found we did not need to do so. We also really enjoyed the Punchliner Comedy brunch served on sea days in the Sapphire mid ship dining room. Great Eggs Benedict, Chicken Alla Diavolo, and salted caramel cheesecake! Lunch in the Lido was OK. I really like the design of the Lido, very light and airy. The lunch buffets were good, but being big lovers of Indian food, we mostly had the Tandoori selection at lunch which was excellent. Did not try the Mongolian Wok this time. For breakfast, we either did the brunch on sea days or room service on port days. Service -- outstanding. We had fixed late (8:15) dining in the aft Blush dining room. Our servers were Stanislava (Tania), Magdalena (Magda) and Branimir. They wre most attentive and really went out of their way to ensure we had a good time. Combined with our bar waitress Monica, it made for great dinners! Our room steward was good and really, all the staff we encountered were so pleasant and friendly. One thing -- the Guest Services desk is way understaffed, which makes for long lines there. If you need something, be prepared to wait and wait! Entertainment -- we liked it a lot. There were 4 production shows -- Motorcity, Brits, Divas and Latin Nights. They rotate the shows throughout the cruise. We skipped Motorcity but saw the rest. Brits was OK, but the music was too young for my mom and tool old for me. Divas and Latin Nights were great! Lots of hi-tech effects and great sound. We did not attend any of the comedy shows. We did enjoy listening to live music and they had 2 bands -- Dima's (2-piece) who played in the Breeze Bar Atrium nightly and Eddie C and the Cool Breeze Band (6-piece) that played in the Ocean Plaza nightly. Dima's played songs of my mom's era while Eddie C had more fast and contemporary stuff. Being such a port-intensive cruise, entertainment was not a high priority for us as we had super early starts (7:30 or so) on most port days and were out for 10-12 hours. But this may be more of an issue on Caribbean cruises where the ports are less of a focus than the ship itself. Ports -- we overnighted in Venice, then visited Dubrovnik, Messina, Naples, Olbia, Rome, Florence and Monaco and finished in Barcelona. With the exception of Olbia where there wasn't much to do, the other ports were truly amazing. We skipped the overpriced Carnival big bus tours and went instead on small group tours (max of 8 people) with fellow cruisers we had contacted through CC. It was much cheaper and we got to see sooo much more! We used Share a Shore Excursion in Italy for our Italian excursions and can highly recommend them. New vans and excellent drivers and guides with impeccable English. For Monaco we used a private guide recommended by Rick Steves and loved her! For Barcelona, we used Spain Day Tours and loved them too. Getting on and off the ship at all the ports was flawless with no waits. On Board Activities -- not much to say here. As this was such a port intensive cruise, we used the sea days to sleep in and chill out, read, etc. I believe there were lots of activities organized, but we pretty much ignored all of them. Disembarkation -- this was the only flaw we experienced. For us, we had a late debarkation zone. Unfortunately, debarkation ran very late. As a result, we were supposed to disembark between 8-8:45 am but did not actually make it off the ship till 9:15 am! We had a tour waiting for us and it was so embarrassing to be so late. In future, we will only do self-assisted disembarkation as I don't think any cruise ship can handle such large numbers. Value for Money -- fabulous! The suite was priced very reasonable compared to other lines. We had a great cruise with premium ports. In sum, we felt like we got a luxe cruise at a very decent price. We highly recommend the Carnival Breeze! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We took the inaugural voyage from Venice having chosen it for its visits to both east and west Mediterranean ports (one of the few) and that it sails from Venice (what a view) and arrives in Barcelona (a great city to stay for a few ... Read More
We took the inaugural voyage from Venice having chosen it for its visits to both east and west Mediterranean ports (one of the few) and that it sails from Venice (what a view) and arrives in Barcelona (a great city to stay for a few days). The pros are that you only unpack once and get delivered to amazing ports almost every day. Our aft balcony cabin on level 9 was very comfortable and quiet and our steward serviced the cabin often without being obtrusive in any way. The sundeck (aft) was were we spent most of our lazy time but we were unable to get into the serenity area at any time and find a place to lie down, it seemed as if the same people commandeered it everyday. The pizza, Indian and lido buffet were all good for casual eating. Mostly the embarkation was smooth and always getting back on was quick and straightforward. Some of the staff tried very hard to please. We chose 'your time dining' which was good for its flexibility but meant that the dining staff were not the same so service levels were sometimes compromised. Also couples dining seemed to be lumped together although at individual tables we were very close to each other and difficult not to overhear conversations. The supplement restaurants were good but still not great. On the cons side 'cruise casual' is a term used to hide a way to casual approach to entertaining and delighting your guests. On the 12 night cruise there was only one semi-formal night and my husband is still cranky that he had to drag a suit all the way from Australia and then not wear it. Dress standards for the dining room were not enforced so there was everything from dressy to way too casual. The food was very average and this was disappointing. The wine list however had a number of very reasonable choices which we really enjoyed. After dinner was the greatest challenge as once you had seen the 30 minute cabaret acts x 4 shows, wandered around, got the occasional drink there was little to do. One night we ended up doing a jigsaw in the library. People do not supervise their children enough, particularly at night so youngsters are often roaming around being noisy and disrespectful of adults and their time during the evening. All that said nothing can take away the excitement of being on the inaugural voyage and sailing out of Venice with people waving and boats tooting to the giant Carnival Breeze. The best ports were Dubrovnik, Athens, Monte Carlo, Messina & Barcelona. Due to a stuff up with the port bookings we missed out on the south of France which was a huge disappointment and the $50 credit per person was no compensation. The long sea days are boring and worse when you are sailing to nowhere waiting to dock because of an error in paperwork! The obscene cost of this in terms of fuel wasted, etc still makes me feel sick. I won't be choosing to sail with Carnival again, I think they cater well to families or couples who want a very casual relaxing break. We expected more in terms of service and food. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Carnival Breeze Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 2.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.0

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