Voted Best New Ship of 2012, the Carnival Breeze aims to impress and has ‘broken the mold’ so to speak when it comes to what you would usually expect from Carnival. Fun is abundant on this ship and there is something for every age, but the overall appearance and decor transport you into the Caribbean the minute you walk in. This new 3,690 passenger ship is the third and final ship from Carnival’s Dream Class. The Breeze features all of the fun and innovation of Carnival Cruise Line’s Fun Ship 2.0 – The Punchliner Comedy Club by George Lopez, Guy’s Burger Joint,EA SPORTS Bar, DJ Irie, BlueIguana Cantina, BlueIgnuana Tequila Bar, The Library Bar, Hasbro, The Game Show, Playlist Productions, RedFrog Rum Bar and Alchemy Bar.
After sailing through the Mediterranean last summer, Carnival Breeze is now at her home port in Miami, Florida, sailing away on 6 and 8 day Caribbean cruises.
My family and I were recently invited to the official naming ceremony of Carnival Cruise Line’s new ship the Carnival Breeze. Now as a publisher and writer who reports on luxury and moderate travel for families, I will admit I was skeptical. I had never before sailed on Carnival and have heard mixed reviews about their older ships. This new ship promised a revamped decor layout and interesting features, shows and amenities. I was intrigued. My skepticism is long gone and Carnival’s new ship is one of our favorites. We had an incredible time, ate way too much and made memories to last a lifetime.
The naming ceremony proved to be entertaining and eventful. Traditional media and television networks around the world attended this event where Tracy Wilson Mourning, founder of the Miami-based Honey Shine mentoring program, was named as the official Godmother of the ship. We were all provided with a sneak peek at the live shows and entertainment which I have to say were impressive. You can view more of our experience here.
Large and beautiful pleated lanterns in pale yellow, plum and tangerine float above you in an open and airy concept that soars from Deck 3 all the way to Deck 10. Riding the elevators is a treat especially for youngsters as they watch the lanterns pass them by. Some of the daily entertainment such as singing, dancing classes and games are held on Deck 3 in this beautiful area which offers a comfortable lounge space complete with a bar for those who wish to just relax and enjoy the view.
We previously reported on the Spa Staterooms offered on the Carnival Breeze. These exclusive “spa” rooms are a new addition to the ship and offer a unique experience all their own. Those in need of a little extra pampering will appreciate the unlimited access to the Cloud 9 Spa through their own private elevator. You are also provided with special Cloud 9 products, complimentary classes and priority reservations for treatments.
The next step up from your standard outside cabin is the Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom. They sleep 5 and offer two washrooms (one with a bath tub), making them ideal for families. Instead we stayed in two adjoining balcony rooms which gave us plenty of room for the kids to run around and play on the balcony. With naps and early bedtimes in our schedule, a balcony is a must!
Carnival Breeze’s staterooms have been decorated in a relaxing beachy palette of blue, sand, yellow and coral. Each room has 2 single beds which can be combined to create a King if you desire. The beds are oh so comfortable thanks to the “Carnival Comfort Bed” system that provides comfortable mattresses with upgraded pillows, linens and lofty duvets. Heaven. It’s hard to lay on these beds without nodding off.
As to be expected the bathrooms are on the small side and there were no bathtubs (a standard on most cruise lines). I appreciate the hand held shower head though as I was able to wash my little ones with no problems. Another nice touch was the mounted dispensers for shampoo and shower gel. Plenty of product without any fiddling around with tiny bottles.
Both of our rooms offered plenty of storage space, so much so that we didn’t even use it all. The drawers were nice and deep and closet space abundant. Our suitcases were easily stored underneath our beds, out of sight and out of our way for the entire trip. There is a safe in each room as well as a flat screen television, phone and couch.
If you get an adjoining room, you not only have the option to open your room up into a suite by opening the locked door, you can also extend the balcony. Once the locked door is open you have a large sitting area suitable for the entire family. We really loved this feature and thanks to the height of the guard rail there were no worries of the kids climbing over.
Daily housekeeping is provided on the Carnival Breeze and they come in several times throughout the day to freshen up your room and deliver the Carnival Cruise ‘Fun Times’ with the ship’s daily activities. Whether we were spending the day poolside or at a port it was always such a pleasure to return to our room. Bright, airy and comfortable. Carnival won in the comfort and decor category for these rooms!
Restaurants, Food & Drink
The Dining Rooms:
Carnival Breeze’s dining options are plentiful and expansive. In other words, your taste buds will never get bored…. ever. When you book, and select your dining time (early seating, late seating or “Your Time Dining” for those you prefer an open-seating option) you will be assigned to either The Sapphire Restaurant or the Blush Restaurant. Both serve the same menu, but in a different setting.
Sapphire has chandeliers that turn shades of blue while Blush’s lighting turns various shades of coral. The menu changes daily and offers a good selection of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts. There were at least 2 or 3 vegetarian options every day and the dining room was extremely accommodating, catering to our requests and our children’s forever changing taste buds. The formal dining room is also where The Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez is held, serving up a presentation and a delicious brunch consisting of Mexican favorites and quirky new ones (Fruit Loop crusted French Toast anyone?).
Depending on the length of your cruise you will have 1-2 formal nights where mom, dad and the kids get gussied up in their very best and dine in style. Oh how my girls love formal night!
TIP: Don’t rush out of the dining room after your dinner as you will miss the fun musical performances put on by the wait staff. Very entertaining and great for kids!
TIP #2: Take full advantage of the photo opportunities during formal night. Ship photographers can be found all around the ship before, during and after dinner. There is no upfront cost for this service. Your photos will be displayed in the Photo Gallery the next day and if you like them you can purchase as many or as few prints as you like. If you don’t, no harm done.
Fun Facts: The Carnival Breeze’s kitchen serves up to 5000 lobsters on Lobster Nights Alone! 20,000 meals go out from 6:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. How many chefs you ask? 167 to be exact.
The Lido Marketplace Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering a casual buffet style eating experience. We loved the ocean views and tropical decor in this space. Breakfast offered a variety of traditional hot and cold options, as well as made-to-order omelets, a Mongolian stir-fry wok and meat-carving options, unlimited soft serve ice cream and hot and cold beverages. The Marketplace is popular during breakfast and if you have young children I highly suggest getting here as early as you can (8-8:30). By 9:00 a.m. it was swamped and lines were quite long. Lunch and dinner weren’t nearly as crowded and wait times were close to none.
Guy’s Burger Joint serves up huge freshly made burgers, thick cut fries and loads of toppings to be piled on as you like. Created in partnership with Food Network’s celebrity chef Guy Fiery (Diners and Dives). Located poolside, this is every burger lover’s dream! Want another? It’s all on the house. No limit ;). Their fries are so good here, my kids went up for thirds, fourths and fifths.
Directly across is one of my personal favorite quick-time eateries The BlueIguana Cantina. This was open for breakfast and lunch serving delicious and very generously sized burritos and tacos with an entire bar offering a huge variety of fresh salsas and toppings. I’m still dreaming about the watermelon salsa and fresh pico de gallo. SO yum!
Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ dishes up everything you would find at your family barbeque. Chicken breasts, Italian sausages and more. This was one stop we didn’t have a chance to make, however my fellow travellers had nothing but good things to say.
You will find some of the best pizza you’ve ever had at Pizza Pirate. From Margherita pizzas to mushroom and Four Cheese varieties, these made-to-order, piping hot wood-oven pizzas are divine. Perfect for a lunch or evening snack. We skipped out on dinner a couple of times just to eat here at my husband’s request. He was a big fan as well!
There is nothing I like more than an Indian meal. Cooked in the traditional manner, it is like an explosion of flavor with every bite. Tandoor does Indian cuisine very, very well. It is located by the Tides Pool directly across from the Pirates Pizza. Very impressive and authentic Indian cuisine. The roti seem to go faster than the chefs can make them. Pair that with cooling raita and you have one of my favorite snacks.
Finer Dining Experiences At A Cost
The Carnival Breeze offers several dining options that are not included in your cruise fare. That being said the price per person is very much worth it and I highly suggest making a reservation at the Fahrenheit 555 and Cucina del Capitano as soon as you arrive as they get scooped up very quickly.
Fahrenheit 555 is a specialty steakhouse located on deck 5 of the Carnival Breeze. The surcharge for dining at this restaurant is higher than most at $35 per person. Having dined there myself I can honestly say the cover charge is priced at about 75% less than what you would pay at a traditional steakhouse of this calibre.
After you have sat down the waiter will provide your table with a viewing of the prime cuts of meat available. Drinks are served and then course upon course upon course. We indulged in a variety of appetizers, chef specialties, main courses and desserts. The service here was over and beyond and the food was sublime. Highly recommend this restaurant! Keep in mind this is one dining option that is not suitable for small children. Save it for a date night at sea!
Cucina del Capitano
Out of every dining option available on our cruise, the Cucina del Capitano was my favorite. There is a sentimental quality to this restaurant as the dishes have been inspired by the Carnival Cruise Line ship Captains’ family favorites.
The decor is warm and inviting with glass chandeliers, a wine keg, red-and-white checked tablecloths, round wheels of parmesan cheese and fresh vegetables. The waiters put on a good show during your meal that will get everyone up and dancing (kids loved it!). There is a fee for dining at this restaurant in the evening, however lunch is complimentary and included in your fare. You will find Cucina del Capitano upstairs from the Lido Marketplace on deck 11.
Fresh sushi at sea? Yes indeed! Making its grand debut on Carnival Breeze, Bonsai Sushi Bar is a casual specialty restaurant that offers many different maki sushi rolls, sashimi, soups, salads and desserts. Instead of ordering off a menu in the traditional manner, you are provided with your own menu and pencil. You then check off your order and hand it to your waiter. As my husband and children are not sushi fans, my little man and I dined alone. They serve dinner here from 5 p.m. to midnight and lunch on sea days. If you are dining with your spouse check out their cute ‘boats’ of sushi and sashimi. A nice meal option for 2 at a cost of only $15. Everything was fresh and oh so tasty! When all was said and done, my surcharge came in at $8.00. Not bad!
Additional dining options included the RedFrog Rum Bar island themed pub serving up traditional snacks and island favorites in a fun, kick-back-and-relax atmosphere. Pub games, beer and music are plentiful. There is a small surcharge for the snacks. There is also a coffee shop on board serving deluxe hot chocolates, specialty coffees and sweet treats.
The Bottom Line: As you can imagine, the food is excellent on this ship and the comfort level of the staterooms rival a hotel’s, but what really makes everything even more special is the service. Carnival Breeze has some of the best staff I’ve ever come across. They go out of their way to serve and do so with a smile and character. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our review where we will dive in to amenities and activities.
Disclosure: Carnival Cruise Lines invited Child Mode as their guests on their new ship. All thoughts and opinions are my own as always.*