I was super excited to board the Breeze because this was our Platinum cruise! It might not mean much to some, but it was a big goal for us. What girl doesn't love Platinum?! As I have already explained we did not do a traditional back 2 back cruise. While our 2 cruises were Fantastic and I wouldn’t trade them for the world… this wasn’t the easiest way to go about it.
I am not sure if you have noticed or not, but after you sail, it takes 2-3 days for your Carnival account to update with your cruise. If you stay on the same ship… obviously they have an accurate count of your days on board… but transferring to a new ship was another story. I was prepared for this and had the number of who I needed to call and exactly which department I needed to speak to in order for them to credit our cruise immediately so all of our paperwork and luggage tags would print out Priority and Platinum.
While we were kicked back on our balcony on the Ecstasy waiting for everyone to debark, I called Carnival. When I asked to be transferred to this special department she says “Oh Dear. They are closed for the 4th of July holiday” Whaaa...t? My heart stopped. I didn’t even think of that before. I calmly relayed my predicament. I mean, if they didn't fix it, oh well. It's not like I was going to throw a fit like a 2 year old, scream, kick and refuse to board. But it was our Platinum cruise and I really wanted to take advantage of the Platinum perks... you know what I mean? She told me not to worry that she needed to put me on hold for a bit, but she would do everything in her power to find someone that could help me. I’m not going to lie…. I was on hold a couple of times for some extended periods, at one point I thought I would be walking off the ship with a phone to my ear still on hold, but when it was all said and done, our status had been pushed through and all our paperwork was correct when we printed it out. She didn’t have to do that and I know it wasn’t easy, but I was “wow’d” by her customer service.
The next morning we arrived to the port about 10:30 and it was already PACKED! It resembled trying to board the Triumph when it arrived 4 hours late a couple of years ago. A large can of sardines... an ant mound when you kick the top of it off.... you get the picture. We made it through security screening no problem. Last week we went up the escalator to check in, but this time we were stopped and asked to go into a little room off to the right before the elevators. When I asked what we were doing, Mark says they said this was Priority Boarding. I am not sure it really was as most people were just walking in and no one was actually checking the paperwork. We were asked to hand over our paperwork and take a seat. The little room was really full, but we were able to find 4 seats. About 5-10 minutes later our name was called and we were led around the corner to the counter. Here our pictures were taken and we were given our cards. When I asked where we were supposed to go now they said back in the room we had just come from. I asked about a lounge upstairs and the girl said “ Oh honey, you DON’T want to go up there. Trust Me!” Lol When we walked back in, there were now no seats together and more people we coming in trying to check in. We decided to just go peek upstairs anyway. It was crazy up there, she was right, but we found someone and asked if they had a designated place for Platinum and Diamond guests upstairs. She said certainly and led us to an open room in the back. There were maybe 20-30 people back there with 100 open seats. There was a little table with water and lemonade and sure enough when it was time to board, someone came back to this little room and asked for Diamond and Platinum guests to follow them. They led us straight on the ship. (Not sure when all those people downstairs finally made it on)
We headed to our rooms to drop off our carry on bags. While we had success so far with our recent Platinum status, I think the room steward list was printed prior to all that taking place. When we arrived to our rooms, Mom and T’s room was ready (they had FTTF), but our room was not. When our room steward saw our cards he went into a frenzy trying to clean the room while apologizing profusely. It was no big deal to us. We told him to calm down and take his time. We would head next door and get out of his way. Poor thing apologized 3-4 more times throughout the cruise. He was really upset he didn’t know. We were just ecstatic … we were ONBOARD and we were finally PLATINUM! lol
Now on for the ship itself. I LOVED the Breeze... which is kind of silly, because I wasn't a huge fan of the Magic and it is very similar. This cruise we had our son's best friend and his family cruising with us so we had 4 balconies in a row. Mom and T had an adjoining balcony with us.
We entered the ship on Deck 3. This is the Atrium. It has your standard bar in the middle with guest services and the shore excursion desk on either side. This also give you access to the lower entrances of the Sapphire Dining Room and the Ovation theatre. We had Any Time Dining which was the Sapphire Dining Room. We were lucky and actually had cabins near our dining room this time :) This picture was actually taken up on Deck 10 looking down into the lobby below.
Deck 4 Mezzanine is the photo gallery. I honestly think Carnival's pictures are WAY over priced ... however, I did purchase enough this cruise that I got a free photo of the Breeze and a Carnival luggage tag. I think if I bought 1 more picture I would have gotten a cup... I'm not sure. So at least they have added SOME incentives. I spent almost $90 for 5 pictures. I knew Mark would think this was ridiculous so I tried to hide it from him. Thought I was doing good...snuck the pictures in the cabin and packed them away. I was just going to wait until we got home and be like "Oh look at these pictures I found...." Anyway, the way it really went was #busted. We had that handy dandy Carnival Hub App on our phones so within an hour or so he was standing there with that "You just spent $90 on pictures?! face." #busted
If you walk towards the aft of the boat you will encounter the Library bar, top of Sapphire Dining room, Club O2, Circle C and of course the infamous Arcade is tucked away on this deck. Trenton is getting better about finding the hidden ones. It took him 3-4 days to find it on the Magic... he had this one nailed down by Day 1 :( The Breeze has a pretty decent sized Arcade.
Also on Deck 4 is the Thrill Theatre. I had heard about this, but I didn't put 2 and 2 together that it was on this ship until when the cruise was almost over we walked past it and I was like "Whoa There! How did we miss this?!"
They were in the middle of a show so we checked the schedule and made plans to go the next day. Seems like most shows are 15-20 minutes long. The theatre holds around 20-30 people. It never was packed for us. Tickets were $7.95 each or you could purchase an unlimited ticket for the whole cruise. I think it was $15. I only saw 3 shows that were playing though.... Happy Feet, Sponge Bob and Planet Earth. We originally saw Happy Feet. There was a little preview prior to it and some of the seats didn't work so everyone ended up getting a free ticket to come back. Worked out well for us because our seats worked fine :) We went back the next night and saw Planet Earth. It was a pretty cool experience... I am not a huge fan of the water mist in my face and when the snake came out I screamed and jumped clear out of my seat. The boys... well, really everyone in the theatre, got a big kick out of it... The rest of you have been warned :) Be on guard if you see a snake on the screen.
Deck 5 is the Promenade and this deck has it going on! The Ovation theatre in the front of the ship is 3 levels. The top level is located here. The fun shops run along both sides of the ship and they are complete with the Cherry on Top Candy Shop!! The Breeze has a very nice casino. It was certainly larger than the one on the Ecstasy. They were moving some machines around while we were on there and at the time the poker table was located in the seating area in front of the casino bar. Not sure if it was still there or not, but it really wasn't a bad spot. There seemed to be plenty of players each night, though we only played once. I found a new game which is Texas Hold'em, but it's in with the blackjack tables. It was a pretty profitable little game for us. We played each night, won a little and cashed it in. It's always better to come home with more money than you went in there with! However, responsible play like that doesn't get you the Free Drinks card... or the casino promotion I am desperately checking the mail box for everyday so I can book our next cruise. There is no stage here in the casino area like it is on many ships.
If you walk a little further aft you will pass a Fun Hub station and back around the corner is the typical casino stage and dance floor. Lots of Cruise Director talks and trivia games are held here. It is a nice area. You can also exit here onto the Promenade deck that wraps around the ship. Fat Jimmy's C Side BBQ is right outside and open on sea days. It doesn't serve BBQ though... mainly hamburgers, hot dogs and finger foods.
This deck is also home to the Taste Bar, Bonsai Sushi and the Red Frog Pub. Just a little further aft is the Liquid NightClub. Of all the ships I would say this was the coolest looking nightclub. The 12 year old boys giggled when they saw the dancing circles. The walls were really cool though, looked like you were under water.
So... you would think we would be done, but we aren't ... seriously this is a BIG ship. So keep walking aft and you will discover the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, the Piano Bar and the Limelight Lounge. Whew! I was tired just remembering all of it. We did eat at the Steakhouse one night, but I will review that a little later (got to use my new handy dandy Platinum benefits for that one).
The Limelight Lounge was where the "New" VIFP Party was held. Starting just a few months ago they changed it from Gold and Up to Platinum and Up. We personally didn't really care. In our younger days we were certainly there for the free drinks, but now... not so much. I can say it was a smaller group. It seemed to be a little more intimate setting. The service was WAY better because they weren't serving 500+ people. They had a live band on the stage and they were able to engage with the audience more. A small dance floor which not many people were really using. They passed out the same Mardi Gras beads and played the same video where you cheer for your ship. They also introduced the Diamond guests on board and the youngest Platinum guests. I didn't tell Trenton that because he is a whopping 13 days away from Platinum and if they called him up on stage he would be ecstatic! He was so proud when he got his Gold card... I can't imagine how he will be at Platinum.
The Limelight Lounge is also where they held BINGO. Mark... the lucky duck that he is won the blackout BINGO and brought home $400. It was the $1000 game, but you have to have the blackout in a certain number of balls... if no one gets it, the game continues, you just don't win as much. We were super happy with $400!!!!! I have got to remember to pack my Carnival Bingo dobbers next time. I am starting to build up quite a collection :/
Now we will head up to the top of the ship for some outside fun!! Deck 10 is the Lido. You will find your main pool here. The 4 corners are your Blue Iguana Tequila Bar, Red Frog Rum Bar, Blue Iguana Tacos, and Guys Burger Joint. Here's a hint about the eating places... the lines move in 2 ways. Guy's gets the most crowded, but it was because most people didn't notice there were 2 lines. At Blue Iguana there is a line for tacos and a line for burrito's. Most people are in the burrito line and you can just walk up to the counter and get an order of taco's because no one knows the line is there :) You can thank me later. Inside is the buffet and Mongolian wok. Towards the back is also the entrance to Cucina de Capitano. You will see the little staircase going up. We also ate there for dinner one night. I will review all the food in a later blog. All the way to the aft on the outside is the Pizza and Tandoori places to eat and a smaller pool and hot tubs.
Deck 11 is where Camp Carnival is. I honestly... never saw it this cruise :)
Deck 12 has a pretty decent sized jogging track. They have the outdoor gym equipment in the corners and a basketball court in the aft of the ship. Mid ship is the Sports Square and mini golf and entrance to the Ropes Course. We tore that ropes course up! It is so much fun!
If you move towards the front of the ship there is the Water Works which is always a happening place! We were able to find a couple of chairs, but the boys never played there too long because the lines for the slides were ridiculous! They enjoyed splashing around though.
If you go inside up here at the front of the ship you will find the Cloud 9 spa and fitness center. The spa is 2 story so on Deck 13 are the treatment rooms, aroma and steam baths and Thalasso therapy pool. One more deck up on 14 is the Serentity area which we do not frequent because we cruise with 12 year old boys :)
The Breeze was a wonderful ship. We had a great room steward and very good waiters in the dining room. As I said before we had Any Time dining and had a table of anywhere from 4 people to 9 people each night. We always went early (around 5:45-6:15) and never had trouble getting a table to accomodate us. It looked like if you chose to eat a little later in the evening there was a wait, but it never looked bad. Also a safety warning... If you don't regularly drink alcohol... check your meds before you do :) 1 member of our cruising party took her regular medication and then had dinner and a couple of glasses of wine the first night of the cruise. She went back to her room. Sat on the balcony... started feeling a little funny and went to go back inside... then found herself sprawled out on the balcony deck. Apparently those 2 things didn't mix well. Thankfully my Mom was on the balcony next door and realized something was wrong. She tried to call the medical deck number (not the emergency number) and it just rang and rang. So she stuck her head out in the hallway and our room steward was there. They got the door opened, a neighbor across the hall was a paramedic and they got her uprighted and inside. The medical team responded and were great. The balcony door between the 2 balconies was opened so that little incident didn't happen again. We kept her clear of the wine after that... lesson learned and now we laugh about it :) Well.... WE laugh. She'll start laughing with us soon I am sure. It's always nice when a serious situation turns out to be okay. I can also say on the occasion's where we have experienced the security team on Carnival and now the medical team on Carnival... both situations were handled well. There is no doubt that I love Carnival, but I keep finding new ways in which they give me added peace of mind. Well done Carnival.
AND... on a brighter note. I went all the way to Miami to sail on the Breeze and now the darn ship is following me home to Texas :) I'll take her!