Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Breeze Review
Carnival’s newest and largest ship lays out an array of next-generation features, and delivers good value, too.
Located on Deck 11, just under Sports Square, Camp Carnival is a multi-tiered kids program, divided by age: 2- to 5-year-olds, 6- to 8-year-olds, and 9- to 11-year-olds. Parents need to drop off and sign out children in the two younger groups; the older kids have sign-in and -out privileges at all times.
Age-appropriate activities were offered, such as face painting, coloring contests and musical chairs for the youngest group. The age 6-8 group participated in magic shows, teddy bear crafting (additional fee required), talent shows and games. The age 9-11 group participated in scavenger hunts, karaoke, and watched G-rated movies. Babysitting services were offered from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., for $6.75 per hour, per child, plus 15-percent gratuity. On the two Elegant (dress code) nights, a party was organized for kids, from 10 p.m. to midnight. One night had a Mardi Gras theme, the other was Hawaiian, and there was a $13 charge to attend (plus gratuity).
Housed on Deck 4, between the Blush and Sapphire restaurants, Circle C was the clubhouse for 12- to 14-year-olds—they were allowed to come and go without parental supervision. There was a dance floor and video games, and scheduled activities included Wii games, scavenger hunts, charades, dance class, pizza parties, etc. Club O2 is Carnival’s program for older teens—age 15-17. It was strictly a no-adults, no-children retreat (supervised by one adult crewmember). Activities included theme dance parties, water fights, and karaoke shows. Next door was the Warehouse, the video game arcade.
The collection of Fun Shops surrounds the central atrium on Deck 5. Among the offerings were resort wear clothing for men and women, watches, jewelry, a modest selection of perfume and cologne, along with Carnival Breeze logo merchandize. There was also a shop with liquor and cigarettes at duty-free prices, and a candy shop called Cherry on Top, where fresh flowers were stocked in a fridge. Sundries included sun block, pain and cold medications, etc. Overall, the selection didn’t vary much from what we see on other ships (much less at our ports of call), and it was not as extensive as we’ve seen on some big vessels.
On Deck 4, flanking the atrium, was Pixels Gallery, headquarters for the ship’s crew of photographers. Portrait sessions could be scheduled and photos of guests were displayed. These were available for $11.99 in 5x7 size, $14.99 for 6x9, or $21.99 for 8x10 professional portraits. There was also a small shop selling a limited selection of camera batteries, memory cards, photo albums, as well as point-and-shoot style cameras from Olympus and Fujifilm.
Deck 4 also contained the Art Gallery, featuring mass-produced paintings. There was an art auction or similar sales event almost daily.
Overall, the service we received aboard Carnival Breeze was excellent. The crew treated us like family from the moment we embarked, even referring to us by name at the main dining room (no, our cover wasn’t blown—these folks were simply on top of their game with everyone).
The ship’s daily newsletter, Fun Times, landed in our cabin each evening. We find Carnival’s standard layout for the newsletter isn’t organized in a way that makes it easy to find everything going on at any given time. Some events are listed in an hour-by-hour schedule, but others—especially live music—are listed elsewhere.
However, most of the ship’s events got a push or two during the announcements by the cruise director. Bingo sessions, art auctions and spa promos (i.e. revenue events) got an even bigger push. Alas, the announcements were inescapable, booming enough in the corridors to be heard loud and clear within our cabin.
The ship’s main Internet station, the Fun Hub, was located on Deck 5, near the Plaza Café. Six PCs were provided, and an attendant was sometimes around for questions. There were at least two other Fun Hubs set up in other high-traffic areas of the ship (such as the lobby), with computers were set up for guest use.
We found the WiFi speed just average during our cruise (that is, sloowww), but pretty comparable to what we’ve had on most other ships. The basic Internet usage plan was .75 per minute, plus a one-time $3.95 activation fee; this covered computers in the Fun Hub as well as WiFi around the ship. There were various packages available that brought the per-minute price down to .64 per minute (45 minutes for $29), .49 per minute (120 minutes for $59), etc. There was a printer available, for .50 per page.
Carnival’s dress code is fairly informal, day and night. That said, “gym or basketball shorts, flip flops, bathing suit attire, cut-off jeans and men’s sleeveless shirts” are not allowed in the restaurants (presumably, though not explicitly, this policy is not in effect for the Lido Marketplace).
One or two nights of each cruise are designated as Elegant Evenings. In addition to the above, on these nights shorts, T-shirts, jeans, sportswear and baseball hats were not allowed in the restaurants. Jackets were not required for men. Although many guests put on their Sunday best for Elegant Evenings (maybe a third of the passengers), just as many stayed casual.
Carnival Breeze has self-serve laundry rooms, available on decks 2, 7 and 10. Each load is $3 for the wash, $3 for dry, and boxes of detergent were $1 each. Ironing rooms were separate, located on decks 1, 6, 8 and 9. Valet and dry cleaning service was available, at the usual inflated hotel prices.
General Health & Safety
A muster drill was held just prior to sail-away. We were not required to bring life jackets from our cabin to the drill and roll call was not taken. Muster stations were located on deck 4.
A medical center is located on Deck 0, a level that otherwise has no guest facilities. The medical center was open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, but doctor’s hours were 8 to 11 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.
There were several exterior areas designated for smoking aboard Carnival Breeze. This included the port side of Deck 5 (the Lanai) and the port side of Deck 11. Indoors, smoking was allowed in the casino (port side) and the casino bar, and throughout the Liquid Nightclub. Smoking was also allowed on guest balconies, though not for spa cabins.
The casino and Liquid Nightclub were both generally smoky areas, and sometimes smoke from the Lanai drifted towards balconies on decks 6 and above. Non-smokers may want to request balcony cabins on the starboard side (which is non-smoking).
For information on Carnival’s tipping and service charge policy, see here.
For information on Carnival’s alcohol policy, see here.
For information on Carnival’s loyalty program, see here.
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