Cruise Line: Carnival
Sail Date: 13th April-20th April 2019
Ship Capacity: 3690
Route: Port Canaveral- At Sea- Dominican Republic- St Thomas- Puerto Rico- Grand Turk- At Sea- Port Canaveral
Why We Chose The Ship
Our first ever Caribbean cruise was earlier this year on the Carnival Breeze. We chose this cruise mainly because of the brilliant itinerary and Port Canaveral departure, which allowed us to do a combination trip and stay for a week beforehand on International Drive. But we also loved the ship itself, with its great range of activities and bars onboard. Carrying 3690 passengers, this was a reasonably large ship for us, though as usual for cruising it never felt overcrowded.
We’re going to start this review with food, as our last dining experience with carnival wasn’t the best. However we’re pleased to say our experience on the Breeze was very different and we really enjoyed the meals in the main dining room. The dishes are certainly geared to an American audience but there is a good range available, including a vegetarian option each night. Desserts were particularly good, with Carnivals infamous chocolate melting pot a must have.
We didn’t get the chance to try the specialty steak or Italian restaurant on this sailing but we did check out Bonsai Sushi; this additional fee restaurant is excellent value for money, as the sushi portions are generous and there a range of cooked or raw options. The vegetarian options however were slightly disappointing, with no appetisers and only one meat free roll. But the delicious side salads made up for this, as well as the miso which was very tasty.
A couple of mentions to finish up our dining coverage; the breakfast burrito's at Blue Iguana cantina are delicious, made by staff but using fillings of your choice (our favourites are the scrambled egg and sausage). It's also a handy place to go if you're in a rush, as the queue is much shorter than those for the Lido buffet.
And finally, Carnival wouldn't be Carnival for us without Guy's. Not only did we get to have his amazing burgers once again, but we also got to try the Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que with its range of succulent meats, sides and Guy's own sauces. Be warned, the opening times for the latter venue are limited, so expected a bit of a wait (but it's so worth it).
The theatre onboard was of a good size and there were a decent range of shows on offer. We can’t say we’re ever blown away with cruise performances, but the main stage shows on the Breeze were of good quality (arguably a great quality if you’re not as picky as us!). Lounge and bar singers were nicely varied and the pool deck performers created a great atmosphere on sea days. The piano bar is a firm favourite with Carnival Cruisers and we did enjoy a couple of drinks listening to the resident pianist in the evening, with song requests from the audience highly encouraged; it does get busy so arrive early to guarantee a seat and you can even join in on occasions if you're feeling brave.
There is a comedy club onboard, which is a really nice addition to a cruise as it offers what we find to be decent after dinner entertainment that breaks up the evening. You’ll find a range of performers onboard and a variety of shows which alternate in suitability for families and 18+ as the evening goes on. While on previous cruises we also liked to check out a quiz or two in an evening, we noticed there weren’t a great many on offer with Carnival; it wasn't an issue as there were plenty of other things to do, but if quizzes are your thing, you'll find other cruise lines tend to have more scheduled.
In regards to activities, we have to include drink sampling as the Breeze has a great range of bars onboard. We love the Red Frog Pub in particular, with its outdoor seating or inside table games, and the Alchemy bar for a really good cocktail. There is also a club onboard and if you don’t go expecting 'Ibiza at sea', you’ll have a good time. Maybe not the latest hits or trendiest vibe, but it’s nice to have a late night venue on certain evenings.
Other activities include the Twister Water Slides and high ropes course, which are great to do in order to break up an at sea day. A 4D Thrill Theatre is also available, but as it was the same show offerings as our earlier cruise on the Vista, we didn’t feel the need to check it out again. But it’s great for those who haven’t done it before!
We finally have to mention the great boarding system at Port Canaveral. We did have an allocated boarding time of 12pm but ended up arriving just after 10am due to speedy pre-arranged transport! But we were pretty much straight onboard and experienced a very fast embarkation process overall, even at such a large and busy port.
Carnival cruises are perfect for a chilled out but fun Caribbean route. We definitely preferred the ship and service here rather than in Europe but hope the company can up their game this side of the pond in the future, so that we can enjoy more of their ships.