This post is purely my opinion on the things I liked and didn’t like about Carnival Breeze. Some things that I hate most could be what someone else likes best – particularly when it comes to smoking areas since people who smoke like them, but being allergic to tobacco smoke I hate them. Everyone is different, which is why cruise ships have so many choices of things to do and places to go. I may not even notice something that is someone else’s favorite spot on board while some other people may never notice the places I like best. I’ve probably also missed a lot in this post since it was written quite some time after the cruise rather than while on board. Overall we liked the Breeze.
Hits on Carnival Breeze
The Breeze introduced some new things not seen before on any Carnival ship. My favorite of those was the Thrill Theater. This theater shows short films with moving seats and other effects that make the audience part of the action. The best one was the roller coaster movie because you get more of a motion effect having a track to follow. For about the price of two shows we got full-cruise passes and were able to see all the shows, with repeat visits to the ones we liked best. Unfortunately on a later trip on the Vista, which also had the Thrill Theater, they had no passes which made it too expensive to go much. Other people must have agreed because while it was nearly always full on the Breeze it stayed pretty empty when we were on the Vista. The Vista crew said they were going to do away with those passes on the Breeze as well, which will make the Thrill Theater far less popular.
Something I always see as a plus on any cruise ship whether I actually use it on that particular cruise or not is a self-serve passenger laundry. Carnival ships always have them, which is great for anyone in need of an iron or who wants to wash their clothes.
Waterslides are always a hit, particularly when cruising to warm places. Breeze has two big ones, and a splash park for younger cruisers as well. I much preferred the twister slide, which judging by the longer line is the most popular one. Some people like the drainpipe slide better though.
We also liked the décor on the Breeze, which generally had a Caribbean casual vibe. The atruim had kind of a floating lantern look. The ship had enough decor to give it a theme and keep it interesting without being overdone.
The interactive TV’s in the staterooms were also a hit with us. Besides the usual things like the bow cam channel or watching TV, you could also use it to book shore excursions or see all of the menus for the week.
Specialty restaurants like Cucina del Capitano, Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, and the Red Frog Pub had great food made to order. We did notice that the quality of the food was better our first time on the Breeze on the transatlantic than it was our second time on a Caribbean cruise a couple years later. We had the spaghetti carbonara at Cucina both times. On the transatlantic it was one of the best things we’d ever tasted in our lives, but on the Caribbean cruise it was less than memorable. The Red Frog Pub food that was so good on the Breeze transatlantic was also a bit disappointing several years later on the Vista.
Being budget cruisers always looking to get the best bang for our bucks, we really appreciate that Carnival books porthole cabins and window rooms with partial views as inside rather than as ocean view like most cruise lines do. You get a lot better price for a room designated as inside. We stayed in one of the ones at the bow once. Though no bigger than an ordinary inside room, when you stand up so you can see it the view is fantastic. (The lower half of the window is blocked by a railing outside.) For the price of an inside room it’s nearly a balcony since there are doors at both ends of the hallway across the bow that lead to an outside deck. Porthole cabins are as big as ocean view cabins, but book as inside at a lower price than the ones with obstructed view windows. They aren’t for everyone since you’ll feel and hear waves when sailing bow into them, but we liked it. We always enjoy the towel animals too, which Carnival stewards make each night.
Another thing we always liked about Carnival (up until the Vista that is) is that they treat all passengers the same. Whether you book an inside room or a suite, all the public areas are open to everyone. Well mostly. The Serenity deck is adults only and the kid’s program areas (Camp Carnival, Circle C, Club O2) are just for kids.
A lot of people see the American Table menu as a miss, but I’m not putting it in that category. It introduced my favorite thing Carnival has in the dining room, the vegetable lasagna. Also having tablecloths only on elegant nights really makes those nights stand out as special while helping the environment by not washing all those tablecloths on all those ships every single day. They do need to add coasters though to keep the glasses from leaving water spots on the table. A lot of people say the food is not as good, but when cruising back-to-back on a ship with American Table and one without, the food was far better on the one with. Food quality does vary some from ship to ship within the same cruise line or even over time on the same ship regardless of whether the menu changed or not. This is true of all the lines we have sailed on and not just Carnival.
Misses on Carnival Breeze
The biggest miss on the Breeze – and indeed all of Carnival’s ships – is having the casino as the ship’s indoor smoking area. People go in there to smoke whether they are gambling or not. The casino is in the middle of a deck with other public areas on either end. There is no way to get from one end of that deck to the other without walking through the casino unless you go outside or to another deck. For a cruise line that claims to be family-friendly you would think there would be some way to get the kids from one end of the ship to the other on a public deck without walking through a smoke-filled room. The casino is also open on both ends so smoke drifts beyond the casino itself to invade other areas. Not to mention a lot of non-smokers avoid the casino because of the smoke so they are losing customers who otherwise would spend some money gambling. While they claim certain slot machines or areas to be non-smoking, the smoke doesn’t just up and stop when it gets to a supposedly non-smoking spot. Having a non-smoking area in a room full of smokers is akin to having a non-peeing area in a pool full of toddlers and alcoholics, both well supplied with drinks, and neither of which has left the pool for a bathroom break in hours.
Really smoking is my only gripe with the Breeze. If it were up to me I’d have a fully-enclosed and well-ventilated smoking lounge located where nobody would need to walk through it to get anywhere. Ruby Princess had a totally enclosed cigar bar in a corner of their casino, which was perfect. Conveniently located for smokers, yet keeping the smoke away from everyone else.
For outdoor smoking a place at the stern would be ideal so the ship would leave the smoke behind as it sailed forward, again in an area nobody would ever need to walk through. They do have designated smoking and non smoking areas outside, but the smoking areas are located where you could easily end up there without meaning to. The public smoking area on deck 5 also means balconies above that area can get pretty smoky even though all passenger cabins and balconies are non-smoking areas. As with most ships, on the Breeze this is on the starboard side so after not being able to use our starboard side balcony on the transatlantic due to the smoke, if we book a balcony now we always make sure it is on the port side.