Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Carnival Cruise Lines
Cruise StyleMainstream
Ship SizeLarge

Insider Take

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

An intimate small ship experience, with a quiet relaxed atmosphere, a minimum number of children.Read More

Onboard Experience

Though the same size as her sister ships, Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic, the Carnival Breeze is the first ship in the fleet built specifically to the standards of Carnival’s Fun Ship 2.0 initiative.

The tropical theme is carried throughout the ship, but nowhere more so than the Beach Pool (located mid-ships) on Lido Deck (Deck 10), replete with plastic palm trees, and faux thatched roof shacks. Just to the sides of the pool are the Red Frog Rum Bar, and on the opposite side, the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar, both decked out with tables, signage and furnishings which have the same ambient feel as many of the port side bars you find in the various Caribbean ports of call.

Promenade Deck (Deck 5) is the “action deck” for all indoor public rooms. The deck flows from the Ovation Theater forward to the Limelight Lounge aft, with a very open plan, easily allowing movement through the various bars, clubs, and restaurants.

Unlike many ships, the outdoor areas of the Promenade Deck are widened, and feature lanais (patios) outside of several of the bars along the Promenade, featuring comfortable faux wicker padded chairs, and tables with umbrellas.

On the starboard side of Promenade, just outside of the Ocean Plaza, Fat Jimmy’s C Side Barbeque, is only open to serve lunch on sea days. Outdoors on the port side of the Ocean Plaza features several more lanai areas, as well as hot tubs, and additional areas for lounging in the sun.

The ship’s design, layout, features, and amenities, will stimulate passengers into a lively life at sea, for young and old.

Decor

In terms of decor, once onboard, just think relaxing “Tropical Breeze”. She is the first ship in the fleet designed by the German firm of Partner Ship Design, rather than Joe Farcus, who designed Carnival ships for 3 decades. Farcus designs were known for very eclectic themes in bold patterns and materials. Breeze is the first Carnival ship with conventional decor, and it suits the ship nicely, tasteful yet fun, light and tropical.

Breeze now offers alternating 6 and 8 night cruises in the Caribbean from Miami – the perfect milieu for this tropical themed ship with various hues of ocean blue, tangerine and plum.

Even the art in the stairways throughout the ship are tropical themes, as are the passenger deck hallways.

The staterooms light wood and blue; with desks, king size beds and 24-inch TVs. Internet access is slow but wifi works throughout the ship.

Cuisine

Variety of choices is the biggest strength, in terms of cuisine, on the Breeze; with the options of 2 dining rooms, Bonsai Sushi, Cucina Del Capitano, Fahrenheit 555 Steak House, Guy’s Burger Joint, Blue iguana Cantina, 24 hour pizzeria, the Tandoor Grill, and the Market Place buffet.

With the exception of Fahrenheit 555, none of the cuisine would be considered gourmet. But more aptly could be described as “down home good”.

Lunch options make that the best meal of the day, especially in the Lido buffet area, where many of the stalls, notably the Blue Iguana Burrito Bar and the Mongolian Barbecue are not open for more than a few hours any day, usually just in the afternoons.

The menus for dinner in the ship’s dining rooms have been paired back from what they were several years ago. In addition to the changing nightly options, there is still a list of always available menus; including a salmon, chicken, and beef option.

Most of the dining room food I sampled tasted better than I expected, and some were especially good, especially for a “value” cruise line.

Restaurants

There are two traditional dining rooms on the Carnival Breeze. Both occupy the space on two decks (3 & 4). The Blush Dining Room is located on the aft end of the ship, and is used for traditional assigned dining times (6:15 and 8:15).

The Sapphire Dining Room, also on decks 3 and 4, is located more amidships. The lower level, on Deck 3 is used for those choosing the As You Wish Dining (open from 5:30 – 9:30). The upper level of the Sapphire Dining Room is used for traditional assigned dining times.

Guests have 4 other restaurant options for evening dining.

The Bonsai Restaurant, on Promenade Deck, the first full sit down sushi restaurant. A la carte pricing on most sushi dishes.

Fahrenheit 555 Steak House, located aft on Deck 5, true to its name, offers a menu heavy on meat. The service here was friendly, but also impeccable. And the food offerings truly first rate.

There is a $35 per person fee for dining here. It occupies a smaller space than previous Carnival Steak Houses, and does not wow one with its aesthetics, but the dining experience is exemplary.

Cucina Del Capitano, is an Italian restaurant, located forward on Deck 11. The restaurant does cost $12 per adult, and $5 per child for dinner, but does offer complimentary pastas for lunch.

This Italian restaurant does occupy a large space, seating quite a number of passengers, so unlike the Steak House, reservations are not likely required.

Service here was attentive, but not as good as that in Fahrenheit 555. The best dishes seemed to be the Chicken Parmigiana and the Beef Short Rib.

One problem with the restaurant is the basketball court is located on Deck 12, immediately above Cucina Del Capitano. The night we dined there, though likely only two kids shooting hoops, it sounded as though the Miami Heat were holding practice above us.

I think it’s likely that in short order they will close the basketball court above during dining hours.

For a more casual dinner experience requiring no reservations, guests have the option of the Market Place on Lido Deck; the ship’s buffet restaurant.

Lunch time is the meal where there are options galore for all passengers.

On sea days there is the option of a Punchliner Comedy Brunch in the dining room, as well, on sea days, Fat Jimmy’s C-Side Bar-b-q, offers a menu of barbecued pulled pork sandwiches, a variety of sausages, with traditional accompaniments; beans, coleslaw, potato salad, small corn muffins. The food is very good, and therefore expect some line-ups before you get to make your choices.

Immediately next to the Beach Pool, on Lido Deck, is Guy’s Burger Joint. Guy’s is a new partnership with Guy Fieri, of Food Network fame (Drive-Ins, Dives, and Diners).

The burgers here are prepared to specifications set by Guy Fieri, using meat ground fresh onboard, and home cut French Fries (slightly spiced with sea salt).

Initially I fully expected Guy’s Burger Joint to be more hype than quality, but it was obvious in my first bite, that theory was wrong.

The burgers are delicious, and are served on quality hamburger buns. The topper here is the toppings bar, with an enormous selection of condiments to choose to throw on your burger.

On the opposite side of the deck, by the Beach Pool, there is the Blue Iguana Cantina; which offers custom made burritos; breakfast burritos in the morning.

Lido deck also offers the choice of the Market Place, a buffet area, with multiple choices of separated service counters, serving a variety of choices; Mongolie grill, themed buffet, deli, salad bars, and more.

The signage for the various stations is very good, so be sure to walk around the Market Place to see what is available that day, before making your choices.

Continue aft through the Market Place, by the aft pool area is where the best pizza at sea is being served. Carnival always had very good pizza, but has changed their procedures and dough, and they now offer thin crust pizza that is as good as any thin crust pizza I’ve eaten. Pizzas are now made to order, so though it may take a few minutes longer, the pizza you get is piping hot, and the cheese topping gooey and delicious.

The pizza is served 24/7, so can be an option any time of day.

Also nearby to the aft pool is the Tandoor Grill, serving East Indian dishes. I’m personally not a fan of that cuisine, so I offer no opinion of the quality.

On Deck 4, next to the Atrium, there is a small library. Here Carnival has added a self-serve wine by the glass option. You use your sail and sign card in the machine, make your selection, and a glass of wine is automatically poured.

Complimentary room service is available around the clock.

Service

Service throughout the ship is friendly and extremely polished. Our cabin attendant was most capable and always managed to clean up the room even if we just slipped out for a short while.

Waiters were efficient and helpful. Drink service in the dining room could be frustratingly slow making it not only more cost effective but more convenient to simply buy wine by the bottle instead of the glass.

Cabins

Several new accommodation categories, including five-berth, two-bathroom staterooms especially for families, are offered. There is also a new style of balcony cabin called the Cove Balcony located on Deck 2, below the promenade decks. These balconies are shadier than the higher ones as they are built into the hull of the ship, which also makes them more private.

The suites and ocean view staterooms come with complimentary bathrobes and a mini bar. The cabins located on the outside are 220 sq. feet and include a coffee table and plush leather sofa. The inside cabins are 195 sq. feet in area and are great for families or large groups of singles due to their pull-down berths that provide extra sleeping space. Families might prefer the 230 sq. feet cabins located next to the children’s center. All the large bathrooms include a shower (the suites are the only cabins with tubs), basket of toiletries, and hair dryer. The cabins come standard with a color TV that includes Skynews, Fox News, CNN, and movies. There is plentiful storage space, with three closets and several drawers. Cabins for those of special needs are available.

Via the flat screen TVs in the cabins one can check their accounts anytime they wish, order room service or shore excursions, and if you chose order pay per view movies.

Fitness/Spa

The gym’s 15,000 sq. feet is full of treadmills, stationary bikes, stair-masters, rowing and hydraulic weight machines, and of course free weights. The strategically placed equipment allows you to enjoy the lovely panoramic views offered by the floor-to-ceiling windows. For runners, a lap on the jogging deck, which surrounds the smokestack, is equivalent to 1/11 of a mile.

Attire

Dress on Carnival on Breeze is probably less casual than other Carnival ships. Formal nights are now tagged as Elegant Nights, where slacks and a shirt for men is deemed sufficient, but I saw a surprising number of suits and even tuxedos on my cruise.

On casual nights, dress or Bermuda shorts are permissible attire in the dining rooms. Jeans are allowed if they are in good condition, no torn clothing, or cutoffs are allowed.

In the alternate restaurants with a surcharge cruise casual is the rule every evening, meaning no shorts.

Overview

Excellent staterooms, cuisine, entertainment & service, this is the newest Carnival ship and the first built fully in “Funship 2.0” tradition.

Best For People Who Want

A great ship for kids and families, a vibrant nightlife and many daytime activities as well, including a water park, ropes course, adults only Serenity Area. A full cross section of American demographics; spacious cabins – most with private balconies – some cabins which will accommodate 5 people; large fitness and spa spaces; many dining options.

Public Rooms

As soon as you enter the ship, on Deck 3, into the lowest level of the ship’s 10 storey Atrium, you’ll know you’re on a non “Farcusian” ship. It’s not that ships designed by Joe Farcus were bad; they just carried his bold, somewhat eccentric, interior design work.

The interior design work on the Carnival Breeze set a more calm tone. In some ways that calm tone actually makes the ship more vibrant.

Up on Lido Deck the midship swimming pool, named the Beach Pool is designed to have a feel similar to that of a Caribbean beach, including the “beach side bars”; the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar, and the Red Frog Rum Bar, as well as the “beach side restaurants”; Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint, and The Blue Iguana Cantina.

Forward on Deck 15 the adults only Serenity Deck is furnished with faux wicker furnishings, cabanas, hammocks, and hot tubs for quiet relaxation. Due its close proximity to the ships Water Works, that serenity may be interrupted by the noise of the people using the water slides and other features of the Water Works.

In the evenings the Promenade Deck (Deck 5) becomes the “action deck”.

At the bow of the ship, forward on Deck 5 is the top level of the 3 deck high Ovation Theater. Moving back from there, through the Atrium, where all of the ship’s stores are located, one comes upon the very large casino.

The casino occupies the entire width of the indoor space on the Promenade Deck, therefore one must pass through the casino when heading to the aft end of the ship, where many of the bars and lounges are located.

Just as you exit the casino is the casino bar; a rather nondescript bar, with multiple television screens above the bar showing ESPN, and other sporting events.

Further aft from the casino the areas are very open, with one use area easily flowing into another, all constructed around the Ocean Plaza. Around Ocean Plaza is one of the inviting areas of the ship’s, with lots of comfortable seating (both inside and out on the Lanais on both port and starboard sides). Internet cafe area, the specialty coffee and patisserie, Taste Bar (where you can get free samples of the offerings from the alternate restaurants on board), and the Ocean Plaza Bar.

In the center of this area there’s a dance floor and a bandstand, where a live band entertains in the late afternoon, and most evenings. This area is also often used for Karaoke, which was hugely popular on our sailing.

Continuing aft, in close proximity, is the Bonsai Sushi Restaurant. Menu items are priced a la carte, or you can purchase a sushi boat for $15 (which is large enough to share).

Close by, along the Promenade, is the Liquid Night Club, the ship’s disco where the party didn’t seem to begin until later in the evening, but continued into the wee hours many nights.

Carnival’s new big hit, the Red Frog Pub is located here as well. The Red Frog Pub offers a variety of appetizers at a cost of $3.33 for each plate, and features a draft beer that is custom brewed for Carnival Cruise Line. A solo guitarist/singer entertains each evening in the Red Frog Pub. The pub also has its own patio/lanai area, out on deck, port side.

As the Promenade flows further towards the aft you enter the Piano Bar. On the Breeze this area is entirely open to the Promenade; no more glassed in bar area common on other Carnival ships.

Aft of that is the large Limelight Lounge, used nightly as the venue for George Lopez Punchliner Comedy Club, and next to Fahrenheit 555, the ships impressive Steak House.

Below the Ocean Plaza, on Deck 4, is the Thrill Theater, the first 5D movie experience at sea. At a cost of $7.95 for a single movie, or $14.95 for unlimited access guests can enjoy several different 3D films – all short movies – where you become a part of the film, with mists of rain, and movements of the seats synched to the movie you are watching.

There was no individual public area that blew me away with its design, but in its entirety I found the ship extraordinarily comfortable and welcoming. It is certainly my favourite Carnival ship now.

Tipping

All Carnival cruises have a $10.00 per person per day (excluding children under two years of age) gratuity comprising $5.50 for the Dining Room service, $3.60 for the stateroom steward, and $.90 for the alternative dining rooms. This charge can be either automatically added to the Sail & Sign card or it can be prepaid (prepayment is mandatory on the Cruises-to-Nowhere). The purser’s desk can decrease or increase this amount throughout the cruise. Tip room service, the Maitre d’, casino, spa, or other staff as you deem fit. The bar and beverage tabs all include a 15 percent gratuity to the bill.

Entertainment

On the Carnival Breeze 3 new shows have debuted; The Brits, Divas, and Motown. Each show features the music their names imply. They combine a 7 person company with an amazing mix of technology; huge LED screens, which combine filmed segments with animation, and laser technology.

Though there are only 8 people performing in the new Carnival “Playhouse Productions” stage shows, with the technology, at times you think there is a 100 person cast; very impressive and enjoyable shows.

Rather than simply have an early show, then repeat the performance for a late night show, they are alternating the shows, to enable those who perhaps missed one of the shows to see it at another time.

Other evenings a “headline act” appears in the Ovation Theater, such as magicians, jugglers, and instrumentalists. Almost all main theater events were also shown on the stateroom television throughout the cruise.

The comedians no longer appear in the Ovation Theater, as there is a nightly venue for them in the George Lopez Punchliner Comedy Club. There are nightly comedy shows; with two early family shows, and a late night adults only show.

There is a considerable amount of live music performing nightly in the bars and lounges throughout the ship. In most of the venues it is either a solo artist, or duo playing, though a quartet played each evening in the Ocean Plaza.

Children’s Facilities

Talking to parents, I heard that Carnival has improved its kid;s programs considerably. It is no longer just “enhanced babysitting” as one person put it. They said the the kids are given creative and varied activities throughout the days, taking them all over the ship to try new things all the time.

Fellow Passengers

Expect a broad mix of guests on Carnival – all types of backgrounds, ethnicity and ages. Breeze especially appeals to families during holiday and summertime cruises. There will be a lot of children onboard, but they are generally well behaved. They have been well-coached by the ship’s youth supervisors who “shush” them so often the kids soon start doing it to each other when in public area.

These days, with all of the regional home-ports Carnival uses, many guests come from the south, beginning with Florida and other close-by regions.

Ship Overview

The third of Carnival’s Dream-class vessels, Carnival Breeze launched in 2012 with a lighter, more tropical décor, new Italian and Asian specialty restaurants, and the Red Frog Pub. Additionally, all of Carnival’s “Fun Ship 2.0” features are in place, including casual dining options, poolside bars, and new activities and entertainment options. Carnival Breeze calls the Port of Miami her home, from where she sails on six-night cruises to the Western Caribbean and eight-night cruises to the Eastern Caribbean. Ports of call vary depending on sailing date, but it is possible to combine them for a back-to-back voyage that visits different ports of call on each itinerary.

Carnival’s Dream-class, the largest and longest ever constructed for their fleet, ushers in an exciting design concept for the line with a new layout, sleek hull, and distinctive profile. The line has made maximum use of the vessels’ added size by creating some truly spectacular onboard facilities and amenities. Unique is the Ocean Plaza, an indoor–outdoor café and live music venue with a large, circular dance floor. A massive floor-to-ceiling curved-glass wall separates the room, creating comfortable seating areas with ocean views and, in a first for Carnival, a half-mile, open-air promenade encircling the ship.

Four “scenic” whirlpools located on the promenade cantilever out over the sea and offer maximum views while you’re soaking. Higher up, the Lido deck is the most elaborate open-deck area of any Carnival ship, with a tropical, resort-style main pool complete with a Seaside Theatre LED screen; a two-level adults-only retreat (called Serenity) with comfortable seating, full bar service, and hot tubs; and a huge Carnival WaterWorks aqua park featuring one of the longest waterslides at sea. Dream-class family-friendly amenities include separate, purpose-built facilities for the line’s three distinct children’s programs, along with a full schedule of activities catering to each age group.

The world’s largest cruise line—and one of the most widely recognized—originated its “Fun Ship” concept in 1972 and has been launching party-packed superliners with signature red funnels ever since. The line’s ever-growing fleet features entertainment and activities designed for passengers of all ages, from game shows and lip sync competitions to twisting waterslides and mini golf. These ships are a reliable choice for families as well as young singles and couples who want a vacation that won’t break the bank.

Nearly all onboard dining options are included in the fare, as are comedy and production shows, children’s programs, and use of state-of-the-art fitness centers. With some of the most comfortable accommodations at sea, large new ships are continuously added to the fleet and rarely deviate from a successful pattern, while older vessels are updated with popular features, such as the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar with an adjacent burrito cantina, the Red Frog Rum Bar that also serves Carnival’s own brand of Thirsty Frog Red beer, and Guy’s Burger Joint, created with Food Network star Guy Fieri.

  • 13 passenger decks
  • specialty restaurant, 2 dining rooms, buffet, café, ice cream parlor, pizzeria
  • Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator, DVD (some)
  • 3 pools, children’s pool
  • fitness classes, gym, hot tubs, sauna, spa, steam room
  • 10 bars, casino, 2 dance clubs, library, 2 showrooms, video game room
  • children’s programs
  • laundry facilities, laundry service
  • Internet terminal, Wi-Fi
  • no-smoking cabins

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
Spa staterooms and suites have exclusive amenities and spa privileges
2-bathroom staterooms are a boon for families
The lowest atrium level has a cantilevered bandstand atop a massive dance floor
Lines can be a problem everywhere, especially in the buffet at popular dining times
If the weather is bad outside, interior spaces can seem overwhelmed
Although the decor is considerably toned down from past Carnival ships, there’s still some glitz

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Layout
Bathrooms
Accessibility

As on all Carnival ships, cabins are roomy and comfortable. More than 63% have an ocean view and, of those, 77% have balconies. New “cove” balcony staterooms, located closer to the water line, offer up-close sea views and a bit more interior space. Also new are deluxe ocean-view staterooms featuring a unique design with five berths and a two-bath configuration that includes one full bathroom and a second with a combination tub/shower and sink. Every cabin has adequate closet and drawer/shelf storage, as well as bathroom shelves. High-quality linens, plush pillows and duvets are a luxurious touch in all accommodations. New on Carnival Breeze is a more tropical decor.

There are connecting staterooms in both ocean-view and interior categories, as well as the spacious new deluxe ocean-view staterooms.

Shampoo and bath gel are provided in shower-mounted dispensers; you also receive an array of sample toiletries, as well as fluffy towels and a wall-mounted magnifying mirror. Bathrobes for use during the cruise are provided for all.

Thirty-five staterooms are designed for wheelchair accessibility.

Food & Drink

Food

Two formal restaurants serve open seating breakfast and lunch, while dinner is served in two traditional assigned seatings with an open seating option. The casual Lido buffet’s food stations offer a variety of choices (including a deli, salad bar, dessert station, and different daily regional cuisines). By night, it is transformed into the Seaview Bistro for casual dinner. The ships also have upscale steak houses that require reservations and have a cover charge. Carnival Magic and Carnival Breeze have added an Italian specialty restaurant that requires reservations for dinner, when there is a cover charge, but is complimentary at lunch. Carnival Breeze also has an Asian restaurant with à la carte pricing. You’ll also find a pizzeria, outdoor poolside grills where burgers and other favorites are prepared, a specialty coffee bar with pastries, a complimentary sushi bar, and 24-hour room service that offers a limited selection of breakfast items, sandwiches, and snacks.

Entertainment

Dream-class ships have spirited piano bars, nightclubs, and the Ocean Plaza offering music for dancing and listening provided by musicians or a DJ. The Red Frog Pub on Carnival Magic and Carnival Breeze is a hot spot for music and pub games. Production companies and guest entertainers performing in the show lounge, comedy clubs, karaoke, and deck parties are signature nighttime activities.

Spa & Fitness

Dream-class spas cover 23,750 square feet on two decks. Included in that space are flotation and mud treatment rooms, a huge thalassotherapy pool, and thermal suite with tepidarium, laconium, Oriental and aroma steam baths, and a relaxation lounge. Although the thermal areas are only available for a fee, there are complimentary saunas and steam rooms in the men’s and women’s changing rooms.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
2012
Number of Cabins
1,845
Passenger Capacity
3,690(4,724 max)
Crew Members
1,386
Passengers to Crew Ratio
2.66
Gross Tons
130000
Width
122 feet
Length
1,004 feet
CRUISE LINE INFO
305/599–2600 or 800/227–6482

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