The 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze was launched in June 2012 by Carnival Cruise Lines. The cruise ship has many features that Carnival cruise fans from the past, present, and future will love. The ship's decor is a little softer and more toned-down than many of the other 23 ships in the fleet, but the Carnival Breeze delivers the same fun-in-the-sun (and on the sea) memorable vacations.
The Carnival Breeze is a sister ship to the Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic, and the cruise line has continued many of the popular venues from these two ships. Carnival also incorporated some of the Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements the company added to its fleet. I enjoyed a taste of many of these changes on the renovated Carnival Liberty.
Carnival has introduced 23 different branded experiences as part of the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements. These experiences include new dining venues, entertainment, and bars. The RedFrog Pub was the first brand introduced, and it's become wildly popular. At bars, part of the branding experience is the addition of special drinks like the Ting Mojito, which is mixed with a popular Jamaican drink, or Thirsty Frog Red beer.
To help distinguish each brand, the staff uniforms are different and they have been specifically trained to work in the branded area. For example, the servers at the Tex-Mex BlueIguana Cantina were very familiar with the different salsas available on the salsa bar. Guests could tell that they hadn't just been randomly scheduled to work there for a few hours one day and then moved elsewhere the next. One of the bartenders at the Ocean Plaza Bar quickly learned my favorite drink and name, making a large ship experience seem much more personalized and intimate. I looked forward to seeing her each day since I felt she "knew" me. Our cabin steward also addressed me by name every time I saw him. When you think about the number of cabins they are responsible for, that's impressive!
Here are some interesting facts about the Carnival Breeze provided by Carnival Cruises.
In its first year of service:
- Carnival Breeze's photographers snapped more than 1.5 million digital images and portraits
- Guests devoured 242,000 servings of the cruise industry's most popular dessert, the Chocolate Melting Cake, along with 346,000 pizzas and 145,200 cappuccinos
- Approximately 26,600 meals were served in the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse
- Galley chefs used roughly 22,000 pounds of flour
- Guests consumed nearly 100 metric tons of pineapples, mostly in frothy tropical drinks
- Stateroom stewards placed more than 2 million individual pieces of chocolate on guests' pillows and created more than 663,000 "towel animals"
- Guests indulged in 18,000-plus massages, nearly 9,000 facials, more than 6,000 slimming treatments, and some 2,000 personal fitness consultations in the Carnival Breeze's "Cloud 9 Spa"
The Carnival Breeze was constructed at the Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani, S.p.A. in Monfalcone, Italy at a cost of about $740 million. She's a little over 1,000 feet long and 122 feet wide and has a top speed of 22.5 knots. The ship carries an international crew of 1,386.
Let's take a detailed tour of the Carnival Breeze.
Dining and Cuisine
Every cruise traveler should be able to find the cuisine and type of food they are craving when sailing on the Carnival Breeze. The ship certainly has enough different places to find a bite to eat, and I managed to try them all on our 12-day Mediterranean cruise. Several of the dining venues are familiar. The Carnival Breeze has two large traditional restaurants--Blush and Sapphire--with fixed and open seating. It also has a large buffet, the Lido Marketplace, and several fast food dining options nearby like Tandoor (Indian), Pizza Pirate, BlueIguana Cantina (Tex-Mex), and Guy's Burger Joint.
Although most of the dining venues on the Carnival Breeze are included in the basic fare, the ship does have a few with either a la carte pricing or an extra surcharge. Those willing to pay a small fee for a la carte dishes that are especially good should try Bonsai Sushi, the first full-service sushi bar on a Carnival ship. The RedFrog Pub serves pub snacks that go great with the beer, and the Ocean Plaza Cafe sells specialty coffees and pastries. Italian restaurant Cucina del Capitano serves complimentary pasta from a menu at lunch, but has a surcharge in the evening. It's a fun place for the whole family, and the servings are huge (probably too big). Fahrenheit 555 is the steakhouse restaurant on the Carnival Breeze, and its $35 per person surcharge is identical to that of specialty steakhouses on the rest of the Carnival fleet. This fee may seem steep, but the food is delicious and expertly prepared. I think it's perfect for a celebratory evening either with someone special or for a group.
The Carnival Breeze has one other new casual eatery that is only open on sea days. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ is found outdoors on the Promenade near the Ocean Plaza. The pulled pork and chicken barbecue are excellent. I didn't try the Italian or Kielbasa sausage, but heard good things from my fellow passengers. This new takeaway BBQ diner was very popular on our cruise.
Cabins and Suites
The 719 interior staterooms are the smallest (and least expensive) on the ship, measuring 185 square feet. For those looking for something larger and more luxurious, the Carnival Breeze has 54 suites, the largest being the Grand Penthouse Suites. Most travelers on the ship choose one of the 851 Carnival Breeze balcony cabins or one of the 221 oceanview cabins without a balcony.
Carnival has added some innovative cabin categories to this class of ship. Families enjoy the "quint" oceanview cabins, which sleep five and have two baths. Travelers who like to be closer to the water might request a "cove balcony cabin". These cabins are identical to the standard balcony cabin on the inside, but are lower on deck 2. The covered balcony is partially enclosed, making it cozier and private. The spa cabins adjacent to the Cloud 9 spa have special amenities, and the guests staying in this class have unlimited access to the spa, priority spa appointments, and complimentary fitness classes.
Guests in all the Carnival Breeze cabins must put their key in a slot right inside the door to activate the lights. The upside of this is that you always know where your key is. The downside is that you have to remember to take it out of the slot before closing the door!
The decor of the cabin deck hallways is different than on any other Carnival ship. The doors have light wood that is painted to make them look louvered. It's very realistic and had me fooled for a minute. The wall panels between the doors have large murals of a very beachy tropical scene.
Cloud 9 Spa and Fitness Center
The Carnival Breeze Cloud 9 Spa is a whopping 22,770 square feet and spans two decks forward. It certainly has great views from the fitness center! The spa features a full range of amenities similar to those found on other large cruise ships or land-based facilities.
In addition to the 21 massage and other private treatment rooms, the Cloud 9 Spa has a thermal suite that is much like a traditional Turkish bath. It features heated chaise lounges, a tropical shower, and a great view. The Thalassotherapy Pool, with its bubbling waters is relaxing and therapeutic. Couples might want to request one of the two VIP couples rooms that come complete with their own whirlpool.
Everyone needs to be exfoliated occasionally, and a Cloud 9 Spa mixologist customizes a body scrub to use in the shower based on an herbal blend selected by the guest. (Note: this mixologist is not the same person as the bartender.)
Medi-spa services are a relatively new trend in spa treatments. These non-surgical enhancements target wrinkles and are administered by a physician. The ship also has an acupuncturist.
Generation Z is the Carnival teen spa program, specifically designed for ages 13 to 17. The teen treatments, with great names like "Hot Chocolate Wrap" and "Fabulous Fruity Facial" make me want to be a teenager again. Moms traveling with their teens can join in on the fun by booking a mother-daughter treatment, and father-son treatments are also available.
The fitness center has the latest cardio- and weight-training equipment catering to all fitness levels. The fitness center serves as the location for a wide range of instructor-led exercise classes including free classes in stretching, toning, and conditioning. The spa also has for-fee classes in yoga and Pilates, spinning, a boot camp, and TRX Rip Trainer, a complete body workout developed by a Navy SEAL that combines resistance, suspension and dynamic training.
A salon with full hair and nail services, men's barber/grooming area and special stations for manicures and pedicures round out Carnival Breeze's spa offerings.
Carnival Breeze is the first ship to feature all of the new entertainment offerings that are part of the line's "Fun Ship 2.0" enhancement initiative as well as the first to debut the new Thrill Theater, an interactive, multi-dimensional experience that make guests feel as if they are part of the movie.
The theater combines a high-definition projection system with elements such as squirting water and bubbles. It also has original special effects that tickle guests' legs, blow air on their necks, and poke them in their seats. Seats within the theater shift back and forth, move from side to side and also vibrate, creating an exciting and exhilarating experience. Guests receive special glasses that deliver an immersive movie-going experience.
Carnival Breeze is also the first ship to offer Playlist Productions, 30-minute, high-tech production shows that combine captivating live performances with LED staging and special effects. Four exciting revues are currently offered - "Divas," "Latin Nights," "Motor City," and "The Brits!" - each featuring popular and memorable music encompassing a variety of styles, genres and eras. I liked the shorter shows, but missed having the large troupe of live dancers. The younger (i.e. under 45) guests I spoke with were all thrilled with these faster-paced, technology-focused shows.
One new entertainment option was surprisingly fun to me and was a huge hit with the Carnival Breeze guests who attended and participated. Hasbro, The Game Show puts guests right in the middle of their favorite Hasbro games. Some of the games featured include:
- SORRY! SLIDERS, which involves a giant shuffleboard court;
- SIMON FLASH, where two teams of four guests wear giant light-up color boxes and must shuffle themselves quickly to repeat a color sequence;
- YAHTZEE BOWLING, with a giant ball and larger-than-life-sized bowling pins;
- OPERATION SAM DUNK, which is set up like a skee-ball board where contestants try to get the balls into different slots on the "patient's" body, and
- CONNECT 4 BASKETBALL, which uses a basketball setup rather than the traditional checkers to play.
Also featured on Carnival Breeze is the new "Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez," a partnership with the popular comedian and TV personality. Lopez serves as Carnival's "curator of comedy," acting as a consultant on the vetting and hiring of comedic talent for the line's popular comedy program.
Carnival Breeze also features The Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez, an interesting twist on the traditional mid-morning feast with five- to six-minute performances each hour by the onboard comedians who entertain guests as they enjoy a variety of delicious favorites such as omelets and macaroni and cheese.
Additionally, DJs on the Carnival Breeze are trained under the new "DJ IRIE Spin'iversity" led by the award-winning DJ IRIE, a disc jockey widely known in Miami and Las Vegas.
Onboard Activities for Adults
Adults sailing on the Carnival Breeze can have fun with the kids or just cruise the dozen or so bars, the casino, and dining venues. Or, they can stretch out on one of the comfortable loungers or hammocks at Serenity, the adults-only outdoor deck area.
Adults also enjoy the onboard entertainment like the Playlist Productions and Hasbro, The Game Show. The Punchliner Comedy Club, which is held in the aft, 400-seat Limelight Lounge, features adults-only shows late in the evening. Sports fans appreciate the Casino Bar, with its multiple screens showing worldwide sports events. This is particularly fun when the ship is filled with many nationalities like it was on our Mediterranean cruise. It's almost like being in a (much) smaller version of a European soccer (football) stadium.
On a mega-ship like the Carnival Breeze, adult couples looking for a romantic getaway sometimes forget that they can find quiet spots like the hot tub seen in the photo above. Strolling the decks at night under the moon and feeling the sea breeze is also a good way to have some romantic time on the ship. Parents traveling with kids don't need to forgo time alone. They can leave the kids with Camp Carnival's Night Owls program, which offers a host of late-night activities with movies, games, and snacks from room service.
Just for Kids
Carnival Cruises carries an estimated 710,000 children aboard its 24-ship fleet this year - nearly half of the total number of kids carried by the entire North American cruise industry.
Carnival's newest ship, the Carnival Breeze, continues the focus on family cruises. The Carnival Breeze has more than 19,000 total square feet of space catering to children and teenagers. This space includes indoor and outdoor play areas and a sprawling aqua park housing the cruise line's longest waterslide.
Carnival Breeze's kid-friendly amenities include supervised programs for three age groups: Camp Carnival (2-11), Circle "C" (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17). Each youth facility offers a full schedule of activities throughout the cruise overseen and organized by highly trained staff.
Camp Carnival, located on Deck 11, is a 5,000-square-foot play area divided into three sections, with each area catering to a different age group and offering a variety of activities. Arts and crafts and various age-appropriate toys and games are available for 2-5 year-olds. For 6-8 year-olds, video game consoles linked to plasma-screen TVs, sand art machines, spin art and themed activities are offered. For the 9-11 year-olds, there are video game consoles, swimming under the stars, scavenger hunts, sport challenges and an array of other fun activities.
Like all "Fun Ships," Carnival Breeze offers educational specialty programs including WaterColors (art); ExerSeas (exercise); H2Ocean (science); SeaNotes (music) and EduCruise (geography). Children can also decorate their own custom-designed Camp Carnival T-shirt, get their faces painted for themed activities, play bingo, make their own pizza, and build their own stuffed animal in the Beary Cuddly Workshop with a portion of sales benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Carnival's primary charitable partner.
On specific nights, special late night parties are offered between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. for different age groups, with dancing on the customized dance floor, fun snacks, giveaways, and more. Although fees apply for this Night Owls program, I think most parents appreciate a night out alone, knowing the kids are having fun.
Circle 'C' and Club O2
Activities in the modern, high-tech Circle "C" and Club O2 facilities are geared toward 12 to 14-year-olds and 15 to 17 year-olds, respectively.
Located on Deck 4, the 1,075-square-foot Circle "C" lounge gives young teens a place to call their own, with a dance floor, video jukebox, music, video gaming consoles and Fun Hub work stations. Adjacent to Circle "C" is Club O2, a 2,740-square-foot teen club where older kids can make new friends and dance to the latest hits cranked out from the DJ booth. Designed as the ultimate "chill" space, this expansive room also includes a soda bar, video gaming consoles, Fun Hub work stations and a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system.
Both Circle "C" and Club O2 programs have a dedicated director who oversees a host of fun activities, including late-night movies, video game contests, trivia and scavenger hunts.
Located next to the teen clubs is The Warehouse Video Arcade, an expansive game room featuring the latest video and arcade games.
Carnival Breeze houses a variety of other family-friendly features, including SportSquare, an open-air recreation complex featuring a suspended ropes course, an outdoor EA SPORTS gaming system, a jogging track, volleyball, miniature golf, basketball and more, and WaterWorks, among the largest, most elaborate facility of its kind at sea with a massive 312-foot-long spiral water slide, a 300-gallon tipping bucket and other splash-tastic features.
Interior Common Areas
Passengers on the Carnival Breeze notice the difference in the decor when they step into the Atrium while boarding the ship for the first time. This soaring Atrium has a more subdued, more elegant feel that many of the older ships in the fleet. Gone are the neon lights and Las Vegas-style decor, having been supplanted by tropical photos on the walls and stairwells and beautiful lantern-like objects hanging in the atrium.
Some of the bars and lounges still have a funky feel, which add to the "fun" atmosphere, but I love the new look of the elevator lobbies and other common spaces.
Outdoor Decks and Exterior Common Areas
As its name suggests, the Carnival Breeze is all about fun in the sun in the great outdoors. The new Carnival ship has wide expanses of deck space, much of it covered with lounge chairs. The Carnival Breeze has two outdoor swimming pools and several hot tubs. Kids and adults who act they are still kids when they are on vacation love WaterWorks, the onboard water park. This area has dozens of ways to get wet, along with two water slides.
Fun in the sun doesn't necessarily mean being active. As noted above, the Carnival Breeze has many lounge chairs, both near the two swimming pools and at Serenity, the adults-only area.
The Carnival Breeze sails 7-day cruises to the Caribbean, Bahamas, and/or Mexico and Central America year-round from her home port of Galveston, Texas. In September, 2018, the ship will move to her new home port of Port Canaveral, Florida, and sail the Caribbean.
Wherever it sails, the Carnival Breeze and its crew live up to Carnival's goal of providing fun, memorable cruise vacations.