Carnival Breeze Mediterranean Cruise Review (2012)



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Carnival Breeze

Carnival Breeze is one of Carnival’s newest ship and it is also one of the company’s first ships to be built from the ground up as a Fun Ship 2.0. The ship is also Carnival’s first ship to offer ALL of the new entertainment offerings that are part of the line’s Fun Ship 2.0 enhancement initiative. The 130,000 ton ship has a capacity for 3,690 guests and 1,386 staff. As a cruise line, Carnival emphasizes that they offer tons of value. And in terms of value, the Breeze does indeed offer a lot of it. Because the ship is so large, it is able to offer a vast assortment of recreation and dining options.

But besides for being Carnival’s first ship to be built as a Fun Ship 2.0 from the ground up, Breeze sports a casino, both indoor and outdoor gyms, a water park, spa, several pools and outdoor jacuzzis, and just about everything you could want on a well-rounded cruise ship. With that said, the interior design of the Breeze is a serious departure from previous Carnival ships. In general, colors are dimmer, and more subdued. And while the actual staterooms have been designed with a tropical look and feel, the rest of the ship is designed quite high-end. As a matter of fact, whether it’s the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, or the the Piano Bar 88, many of the nightlife spots and restaurants aboard the Breeze have a Vegas vibe going for them.



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Piano Bar 88

Relaxing

Carnival has done a spectacular job designing the 22,770-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa aboard Carnival Breeze. The design of the Spa is a bit mod chic, but also very tranquil. At Cloud 9, you’ll find everything from a Thermal Suite based on traditional Turkish baths, to a Thalassotherapy Pool, and a Mud Lounge.  Spa services include an assortment of different Facials, manicure and pedicures, hair salon services, and massages. But aside from the traditional services you would expect from the average ship spa, Cloud 9 also offers many  unique services like a teeth whitening treatment, acupuncture treatments, and special non-surgical enhancements such as targeted wrinkle and instant skin-volumizing treatments. For the teen crowd, there is even a special teen spa program available that includes a Fabulous Fruity Facial, Surfer’s Scrub, a Hot Chocolate Wrap, as well as Mother-daughter and father-son treatments. All in all, the Cloud 9 Spa is particularly impressive for a ship’s spa. Unfortunately, the treatment prices are quite pricey. With that said, during the course of our voyage, the Spa did offer several specials.



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Cloud 9 Spa

Dining

The Breeze is one ship where it’s nearly impossible for even the pickiest eater not to find something they enjoy.  That is because with the Fun Ship 2.0 series, Carnival has introduced a slew of new restaurant franchises, and the Breeze houses all of them. When it comes to casual dining, the Lido marketplace serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a dedicated Salad Bar, a 24-hour pizza place, an Indian Tandoori area, a Mongolian Wok station for creating your own stir fry, and a Deli and Comfort food section. In particular, the fresh-made burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint has become a big hit on Carnival’s new Fun Ships. But during our stay, our personal favorite was the BlueIguana Cantina which serves fresh Tacos and Burritos during breakfast and lunch hours.

On board the Breeze, you’ll also find Bonsai Sushi, which is Carnival’s first full-service sushi restaurant, and Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ where you can find everything from barbecued chicken breast to Italian sausages. And when it comes to a finer dining experience, the ship has several new options as well. These include Fahrenheit 555 – a classic American steakhouse, and Cucina del Capitano, an italian family-style restaurant. Both of these new fine dining establishments carry a surcharge. Fortunately, portions are very generous at both restaurants, and service is excellent.

Service

Speaking of service, during our stay on the Breeze we were continuously impressed with its hard working crew members. The cleaning crew seems to work nearly round the clock to keep your state-room immaculate.  And of course no cruise voyage would be complete without a towel animal. And each day guests are greeted with a new towel animal in their Stateroom.  As a matter of fact, during the course of our cruise, the ship even offered a free class on how to make your own towel animals.



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Sports and Recreation

With all the dining options aboard the Breeze, you might be worried about keeping fit. Fortunately, Breeze offers many fun options for staying healthy. For starters, the ship has an outdoor recreation Area called SPORTSQUARE where you’ll find a two-level 9-hole Mini Golf, a Basketball/Volleyball/Soccer Multi-Purpose Area, a Jogging Track, a Ping Pong table, a fitness Area, and a ropes course. Lets not forget the indoor gym located at the Cloud 9 Spa, and the impressive Carnival Waterworks (Aqua Park) where you’ll find the Twister Waterslide – which is actually the cruise line’s longest waterslide.



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Carnival WaterWorks

Itineraries

From June 15 through October 25, 2012, Carnival Breeze’s summer schedule includes 12-day Mediterranean voyages which depart from Barcelona. Then beginning on November 24, 2012, the ship will offer six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises that embark from Miami. The Mediterranean cruises include stops at Marseilles or Monaco; Livorno; Naples; Dubrovnik; Venice; Civitavecchia (Rome), and Messina. Select voyages also overnight in Venice or Civitavecchia.



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Carnival Breeze in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Our Breeze voyage departed from Barcelona on June 15th, and took us on a whirlwind voyage around the Mediterranean. In particular, we especially enjoyed the ship’s stop in Dubrovnik, Croatia. With its crystal blue waters and breathtaking views, Dubrovnik truly is a hidden gem that we would likely never had discovered if not for Carnival’s Mediterranean itinerary. As a matter of fact, pretty much all the other cruisers traveling on the Breeze seemed to agree that they would had liked more time there. But unfortunately our specific itinerary had us in Dubrovnik for a very limited time.

In general, we thought that our specific voyage’s itinerary needed significant tweaking. For example, stopping in Livorno, Italy and Messina, Sicily on a Sunday is pretty useless, since mostly everything is closed in these cities on Sundays. As a result, you are pretty much forced to pay and go on a Carnival excursion once you dock in a city. Instead, we would have preferred for the itinerary to have Sunday scheduled as a Fun Day at Sea. Also, we would have liked to have had more time in Civitavecchia (Rome), and less time in Venice. With that said, itineraries are subject to ports and their available schedules, and not always up to Carnival’s discretion. However, choosing an itinerary that works best for you and your interests, is something that should be taken into consideration before choosing your specific voyage and its itinerary.

With that said, we would like to see Carnival offer more assistance to guests who choose not to book an excursion in port cities. During the course of our voyage, we did go on a few excursions that were arranged by Carnival. The ship offers a vast selection of both guided and non-guided tours in different cities that cover the most interesting attractions, all at an additional cost per excursion. However, not every passenger will want to book an excursion for each port city, and we observed that many passengers who didn’t book an excursion, really needed more direction and guidance when they decided to go sightseeing on their own.

Kids

While there are plenty of entertainment options onboard for adults, Carnival continues to be committed to families and kids. As a matter of fact, the Breeze has 19,000 total square feet of space catering to children and teenagers. But aside from Camp Carnival which is a supervised program for kids aged 2 to 11, for teens, Breeze offers two special teen clubs – Circle “C” ( for ages 12-14) and Club O2 (for ages 15-17). The clubs are a lot like mom and dad’s clubs, and come complete with a DJ booth, soda bar, video gaming consoles, FunHub work stations, and even a tricked out sound and lighting systems. Also, located near the teen clubs is The Warehouse Video Arcade, where teens can hang out and play video games.

But at the end of the day it’s really about kids having the unique opportunity to build friendships with kids from other cities and countries, and it’s for reasons like this that the Breeze is such a great vacation option for families.

Conclusion

From the dining options to the entertainment, there are tons of options for cruisers to enjoy and occupy their time with on board the Breeze. As a matter of fact, the Breeze feels less like a cruise ship, and more like a floating resort. We especially love the new Fun Ship 2.0 entertainment additions like Hasbro, the Game Show.  You can check out our story about the tech onboard the Breeze for more details about some of the ship’s entertainment options thanks to Carnival’s new Fun Ship 2.0 initiative.

With that said, of course, there is always room for improvement aboard the Breeze. For starters, we felt that the ships pools are too small.  We would also like to see some more fine tuning with the itineraries. Regardless, the Breeze has proven to be a ship that truly offers something for everyone. Not too long ago Carnival had a reputation for attracting the college crowd, AKA the fraternity crowd. But make no mistake, those days are well behind them for the cruise line. More recently , Carnival has been gaining ground and recognition as a family oriented cruise line. But while the Breeze does indeed feel like a family oriented ship, with tons of activities designed for families, it also has plenty to offer for singles, and younger couples in terms of nightlife and and entertainment.

The Good: A plethora of dining options, beautiful spa with a robust assortment of treatments, plenty of late-night venues to choose from, very friendly and efficient staff, the ship is extremely clean, the ship’s interior design is very high-end and more subdued than previous Carnival ships, tons of activities to choose from for both kids and adults alike, lots of sports and recreation options.

The Bad: Small-sized pools, expensive spa prices, Mediterranean Itinerary can use some tweaking, would have liked a 24 hour limited selection buffet versus the sub-par 24hr pizza option.