On a 6 night cruise out of Miami, I had the pleasure of experiencing all that Carnival’s largest and newest ship has to offer. This cruise took me to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico.
As I mentioned in my article on my first impressions of the Carnival Breeze, the ship is one of Carnival’s most beautiful ships and really carries across the tropical getaway theme. Some of the best features of the ship include an incredible water park, fresh and spacious staterooms, Fun 2.0 upgrades like Guy Fieri burgers and Punchliner comedy club, and a fantastic spa with a thalassotherapy pool and a couple aromatic steam rooms.
Check out the video below to see our video tour of the Breeze or keep on reading our review of the ship.
Pool Deck and Hot Tubs:
I counted a total of 8 hot tubs around the ship and that is not counting the thalassotherapy pool. There are 4 on the promenade deck (deck5), 2 on each side. They hang over the side of the ship slightly and are a decent size as well. They do close at 8 or 9pm every night, however. There are 2 more hot tubs in the adult only Serenity area and 2 at the very back of the ship on either side of the tides pool. These stay open until 1am. On a couple occasions the temperature of the hot tubs in the Serenity area was not very hot at all and was rather lukewarm.
The main pool is in the central part of the pool deck right below the huge 270-square-foot LED flat screen that plays nightly movies. This part of the ship is nice and open with two Tiki huts on either side of the pool that offer shade while soaking your feet in the water. The open concept translates to the loungers that surround the pool as well and fan out to offer great seats for watching the LED screen while eating popcorn.
The Tides pool is aft of the ship and is one of my favorite parts of the ship. There is a hot tub on either side and the pool is also right near the 24/7 Pizza Pirate.
The main pool deck has a nice open concept and I like how the WaterWorks aqua park is separate from the main pool.
Carnival pulled out all the stops with this water park. You can’t miss the two waterslides that help make up one of the largest water parks at sea. The Twister is a 312-foot-long water slide and the DrainPipe goes even faster and then dumps you into a large basin. Both are a lot of fun to ride, but I liked the DrainPipe the best because you go so much faster and the funnel ending is always a thrill.
One of the highlights of the waterpark is the 300-gallon bucket that slowly fills up and then tips, dumping all that water at once onto the cruisers young and old alike. It’s a great way to cool off on a hot day on the ship and also gives the kids something fun to do for hours at a time. I rode the DrainPipe 4 times in a row on one day that was not very busy at the waterpark, so I guess I’m a big fan of WaterWorks.
We got a tour of the entire spa facility on the very first day and you can check out our video of the spa here. If you just want to relax on your cruise and get pampered a little, there is no better place than Cloud 9 Spa. Services offered include facial treatments, massages, body therapy, acupuncture, medi-spa treatments, teeth whitening (Go Smile), salon services. The staff at the spa was very friendly and not pushy at all.
I recommend at least trying out the Thermal Suite package. It costs $40 per day or $120 for the whole week and gives you complete access to the amazing thalassotherapy pool, 2 steam rooms with aromatherapy, the laconium (which is a scented dry sauna), and a very relaxing setting with heated lounge charis and relaxing music. It’s a great place to read a book, enjoy the view of the ocean out the window or just take a break. There is even a very cool rain shower that has all kinds of different scents to freshen up after your time in the thermal suite.
Aft of the ship in the spa there is a place you can just relax and cool off whether that is before or after a massage or time in the thermal suite. The soothing music, fresh lemon water, and gorgeous ocean views in this space made it a great spot to just relax. You can check out our video of the spa here.
The Carnival Breeze has one of the most innovative and fun sports decks I’ve seen. Not only is the basketball/volleyball/soccer court lager than most on the sea but the ship offers a first at sea ropes course, larger than life chess boards, an outdoors fitness center, and one of the nicest 9 hole mini golf courses I’ve seen on a cruise ship. In the Sports Square area there is a ping pong table, two pool tables, and a Foosball table. I liked that the mini golf course already had the golf balls and clubs right there next to the first hole so you don’t have to find an attendant to sign out the necessary equipment. Same with the pool table. We played pool at 10:30pm one night in the open air of the Sports Square.
The basketball court closes at 5:30pm every day, but I believe this is mainly because the court is right on top of Cucina Del Capitano, one of the specialty restaurants which starts serving dinner at 6pm. The entire court is locked up at this time, so thought I would let any of you know who like to play basketball late at night when the sun goes down. But if you want to get a work out in late at night you can always visit Sky Fitness which is right outside the basketball court area. This 24/7 fitness center uses all kinds of exercise machines that use your own weight as resistance, so you can work out in the open air up on deck 12.
Besides spacious and inviting hallways that feature pictures of palm trees and beach scenes, the door to each stateroom has a wood slat look that leads you into a cabin that is fresh and airy feeling. Sky blue mixes with light yellow from the beautiful blue counter top in the bathroom to the muted yellow walls that line the comfy and simple design.
Some of the things I liked in our balcony stateroom on deck 8 include the following:
- Power outlet in the bathroom above the mirror (for using shavers) and the double outlet in main living space below the mirror.
- A flat screen TV that swings out on the mount so you can watch it easily from the bed or on the couch.
- A hybrid chair/lounger on the balcony that made it easier to recline and relax while watching the ocean view.
- Light switch above the bed to make it easy to turn off the lights after you get into bed.
- Plenty of cabinet space and wardrobe space to put away all your belongings and make your stay feel more homey.
- Card slot as soon as you walk in to help you both remember your sail and sign card and also helps make sure you don’t leave the lights on when you don’t need them. ( I was iffy about this feature when I first saw it on a cruise ship, but now I really like it and it always helps me remember my card as well).
One thing I was not too keen on in the room was the side door that led to the room next door. There are two doors here on either side of the rooms, but too much sound seemed to travel between them. Often even normal conversations could be heard through this even closed doorway. I like the idea of being able to open the doorway if you know the people next door, but a better sound barrier would be good.
There are two main dining rooms on the Carnival Breeze: Blush and Sapphire. I chose the Your Time Dining option and ate at the Sapphire restaurant which is midship. Blush is aft of the ship and tends to be a bit more rocky during dining times when the ship is pulling out of port. Your Time Dining worked our great as we got to meet different people each night and we could still choose the same head waiter/waitress if we wanted. Rossana did an amazing job by the way and the service was spot on. I ate like a king.
Other dining options included the lido deck buffet which didn’t offer a ton of variety and was hit or miss during dinner time. The food quality of what was offered was good though.
During sea days there were two other places you could eat for lunch. Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ was a very popular option which offered kielbasa, pulled pork, and barbecue sandwiches. And on the SkyCourt there is a little hot dog stand called Sea Dogs which has do-it-yourself hotdogs between 11am and 4pm.
Don’t forget about the 24/7 icecream and frozen yogurt from Swirls. Always a great way to cap off a meal and there are several locations on the lido deck.
On one day during the cruise was the ever popular Chocolate buffet which serves up all kinds of chocolate cakes, cookies, and pies to chocolate lovers on board. The chocolate extravaganza is always a welcome sight.
The 24/7 Pizza Pirate was really hit or miss as well. The pizza was thin but delicious but sometimes it took a lot more time to get the pizza I wanted. On one occasion I stood in line for almost 20 minutes while waiting for a pizza. It’s a great concept but it would be nice if Carnival took some steps to expedite or better organize the process of moving people through the line. Of course, other times I could just walk by and grab a slice of pizza that was sitting there.
You have to check out the Taste Bar on any Carnival ship that has it. Here you can get free samples of some of the food at the specialty dining options and it’s going to be different each day. On the Breeze it’s located on deck 5 midship in the middle of Ocean Plaza, and at the Taste Bar you can taste sample dishes from the steakhouse which are absolutely delicious.
There are a couple specialty dining options on the Breeze as well that require an extra surcharge. Cucina del Capitano was my favorite and costs $15 per person for dinner, but for lunch it’s free. It’s located right above the sweet spot on the lido deck after of the ship. Great Italian food and I heard someone raving about the quality of the steak. Try this place for lunch to see if you will like it for dinner.
Speaking of steak, Fahrenheit 555 is the Breeze’s steakhouse and offers some of the most delicious dishes at sea. For the $35 surcharge you can get a 7 course meal and eat in a steakhouse that seems designed for the likes of Frank Sinatra. I had the chance to watch a cooking show in the restaurant and tried several of the dishes made in the steakhouse. Wow, great food!
Besides the cantinas and cafes the only other “extra charge” eating option is the Bonsai Sushi. You pay a different price for each dish, and this was a popular dining choice for some cruisers.
There is no shortage of entertainment options aboard the Breeze. Most nights featured musical concerts in the Ovation Theater including musical genres like latina, pop, R&B and more.
Along with the piano bar and karaoke, there is always some singing going on aboard the ship, whether you want to sing along or just sit and listen.
Punchliner has been a huge success for Carnival. The Breeze was made for the 2.0 upgrades and included 2 comedians hand-picked by comedian George Lopez. Some ships switch out the comedians half way through the cruise, but this one had the same two the entire cruise: Tommy Drake and Jaylyn Bishop. The two comedians had family friendly shows and then adult shows later in the nights in which children were not allowed to attend. These shows take place in the Limelight Lounge and not the main theater to enhance the comedic experience and make it a cozy place to enjoy some laughs.
The Limelight lounge also was a great place to get involved in some karaoke or just listen to the amateur talent aboard. Ocean Plaza on deck 5 also had karaoke on some days along with lots of trivia, especially on sea days.
Ovation Theater held many concerts on the Breeze, including musical tributes to the Beatle’s genre, tributes to pop Divas like Gaga and Beyonce, latin music and much more. There was a physical comedy show as well that featured the juggling talents of Manny Zuniga and the Game of Love Show hosted by the always funny cruise director, Matt Mitcham.
The interactive Thrill Theater is a multi-dimensional movie watching experience. The 20 minute movies are in 3D and feature all kinds of special effects including seats that move around, water that sprays in your face and some other unexpected surprises. The small room seats 24 and costs $7.95 per person. If you want to watch an unlimited amount of movies you can pay $14.95. Some of the featured movies were Planet Earth, Ice Age, Happy Feet, Sponge Bob’s Wild Ride.
The 270-square-foot LED TV screen on the main pool deck was a fun place to watch a movie at night as well. Movies like Godzilla, Rio 2, Divergent, and others were played during our cruise. Just grab some free popcorn from the cantina and sit back one on of the many lounge chairs on the pool deck. You can watch the big screen from 3 different decks and deck 11 offers some shelter from the rain if it’s wet out. This is also a deck with a lot of smoking on it, however.
The arcade was surprisingly big aboard the Breeze and was a typical place for kids and teens to hang out, but I made sure I got at least one air hockey game in.
The casino was huge aboard the Breeze, being 9,000 square feet and offering 185 gaming machines. There is also a bar and restaurant in the space. Just remember that at most ports the casino machines will not be operational.
What can I say about the staff? The people aboard the Breeze were both friendly and professional and I really had not a single complaint. Our stateroom attendant was always at the top of his game. He memorized our names and always said hello whenever he saw us. The room was always clean when we came back no matter what time that was. Someone else on the ship called the room stewards like little ninjas because they seemed to know exactly when to clean the rooms and were always super fast and efficient.
If you already love Carnival ships and Carnival’s Fun 2.0 upgrades you will love the Carnival Breeze. It’s design is definitely a step in the right direction for the cruise line and has all kinds of extra touches that make the cruising experience more fun and more relaxing for everyone. Since everyone has a different idea of what makes a cruise ship great it’s impossible to please everyone, but the Breeze will surely get the attention of most cruise enthusiasts who already love the whale tail.