Monday, August 22, 2016

Carnival Breeze Cruise Review


Carnival Breeze Cruise Review
8/21/2016 and 8/28/2016

Just the Facts:
Ship: Carnival Breeze
Captain: Massimo Marino
Cruise Director:  Mike Pack
Ports: Galveston - Cozumel - Beize - Isla Roatan - Galveston - Montego Bay - Grand Cayman - Cozumel - Galveston

I had the 8/21 cruise booked for a while but recently booked the week following so I will be doing a B2B cruise on the Breeze.  I will chronicle both in one review.   This is my 61st & 62nd Carnival cruise, the 2nd/3rd time on the Carnival Breeze, and 115/116th cruise overall.  I am cruising as a solo.

Sunday / Travel /  Embarkation / August 21, 2016 / Day 1
Rene in the Red Frog Pub
I left the ranch about 4:45 am well before my usual scheduled departure time since there were flash flood warnings for my route to Houston area.  I did hit rain just east of Waco and very heavy rain either side of Bryan TX.  The continuous rain stopped south of Navasota and it was off and on the rest of the way to Galveston.  As usual some construction in Houston area but overall I made good time and arrived earlier than usual.  Cloudy but no rain so I drove through the cruise terminal and dropped my large bag at the baggage drop then proceeded to EZ Cruise Parking arriving about 10:15 am and was shuttled over to the ship soon afterward.  I was checked in at the VIFP priority check-in area about 10:45 am. Looks to be 9 Diamond guests this cruise (I always look at the Diamond page when they check me off the list) The VIFP lounge was already busy. After the wedding party,  I boarded  about 11:40 am.  It was a smooth process.  After dropping my carry-on bag and backpack in cabin 9359 i went straight to the Lido buffet for lunch before it got too busy.  I happened to be first at the Mongolian Grill, my usual first day eating choice on most Carnival ships.  It was very good.  After lunch I went out to the aft Pool area and the Tides Bar although I had ice creme and not a sail-away drink.  As I was leaving the area the Pizza Pirate Guys brought out some fresh Pepperoni Pizza so I had to test a slice…very good.  I went by the main pool area and Guy’s Burgers and the Blue Iguana were both packed with guests…the alternative dining is a big success.  I returned to my cabin, met my cabin steward, and took a very nice hour+ nap in my very dark interior cabin.  The Boat/Safety Drill was held just after 4:00 pm.  Safety drill went somewhat smooth.  I checked for my checked bag after drill…none as yet and that concerns me a bit as with VIFP status it’s usually at cabin by 2:00ish… so I went to look for it and found it on a trolly at mid elevators.  Between boat drill and bag search I have discovered LOTS of children on my deck…looks like a school adventure as most are in the same t-shirt…hope that’s not a problem this week. We started sail away about 4:45 and very soon the Breeze was sailing her way into the Gulf as I unpacked and set up my cabin.  I went down to the Red Frog Pub for a Thirsty Frog Red beer.  They had a steel drum entertainer and as my server Rene was from Jamaica she was really into the vibe…she’s a good singer too.  I went out to the Ocean Plaza and got a table to enjoy the now very pleasant weather.  I really enjoyed the sea air and perfect weather and to make it even better Jean, a bar server, from Romanian came by so I enjoyed my aperitif in this nice setting.  Noroc! You don’t miss the Alchemy when your on deck in ideal weather with a Cosmopolitan cocktail. I went to dinner at 8:15 pm in the Blush Dining Room (MDR) and I have a nice private table. Interesting and not sure how that happened as I like a large table, but I may keep it.  I had the bread and water to myself and use of two sets of napkins so had a place for my silverware since there is NO tablecloth.  Also a CHANGE to the American Table (I will detail later).  For dinner tonight I ordered: two Shrimp Cocktails, the Creme of Tomato Soup, a Cesar Salad, and the Pork Tenderloin entree with Root Vegetables.  I skipped dessert and headed back to the cabin after a tiring day.  They did have a Welcome Show scheduled tonight but I always pass on that…the violinists performing at the Blush entry lobby were a nice touch.  Overall a long and busy, but enjoyable day.

Monday / Fun day at Sea / August 22nd / Day 2
Two of my favorite staff members : Damir & Stephen
Smooth seas overnight and I had a very good nights sleep. I made some notes  early then was off to the MDR for breakfast about 9:45 am for the Sea Day Brunch. I had a nice table location and friendly table guests. I ordered Tomato Juice, the Fruit Plate, and Steak & Eggs, it was all very good. Guests were really happy and busy today, we had beautiful weather and the outdoor decks were packed as well as the casino. There were more children than I expected too.  I did a walk through the buffet area between 1:30 and 2:00 and I thought I was on MSC as it was packed with guests.  I enjoyed a great Guy’s burger about 2:30, then time for a short nap.  The Captains reception for Diamond Guests was held in the Piano Bar at 4:00 pm.  It was nice to see several officers I have known for a long time and other Diamond Guests.  The h’orderves served were fantastic, certainly an upgraded menu/selection of them.  Of course the complementary cocktails were very welcome.  Several of us stayed in the Piano Bar until dinner time.  The piano bar on Breeze is unique in that it can be closed for a private party or in it’s usual open concept with areas extending into the promenade.  This is another very good option for cocktails on the Breeze.  This was cruise elegant night and thus the formal set up in the Blush MDR so the tablecloths were welcome.  I had changed tables this morning and ended up sitting with guests I had just met at the Diamond event so that worked well.  For dinner I ordered: the Italian Wedding Soup, Spaghetti  Carbonara (as starter), and the Lobster entree. It was good, but not near as good as the h’orderves from the party.  The production show tonight was Motor City and features the Carnival Breeze dancers and singers and highlights R&B music.  There was a lot of other entertainment through the ship as well, but I turned it a bit early, I had a long happy hour today and I have two weeks to see it all.  The Platinum/Diamond gift was delivered tonight: an unusual croc-like (the shoe) like plastic baseball style hat. Don’t think the guests will care for it...but could be a pool hat for me.  A very nice and FUN sea day on the Carnival Breeze.

Tuesday / Cozumel, Mexico / August 23rd / Day 3
San Miguel - Cozumel
Calm seas overnight and I had a nice sleep.  As at home I awoke very early to use the internet, as a satellite user I know it is faster in the wee hours.  Then back to sleep and fortunately I was awake in time to go to the MDR for breakfast before the 9:00 am close.  I had a great breakfast: fresh fruit, three eggs over easy, bacon, ham, potatoes, and white toast.  It was perfect. I have no early plans for the day so a walk around the ship while most are getting off in Cozumel.  We are docked at the Puerto Maya Pier along with the Paradise out of Tampa and the Liberty of the Seas is at the International pier.  About 10:45 am I went down to deck zero and was on my way to San Miguel ($8 taxi). I first went to Antonio’s Barber Shop and had my usual haircut from Martin. He has been my regular barber for nine+ years now.  Afterward I went to Woody’s Bar to use the internet and drink a diet coke.  This has been my Cozumel HQ for many years...I can enjoy Pako performing, Bohemia Beer, and great Guacamole.  (I have been to every Cozumel beach, major bar, and done every activity having been here over 80+ times) The photo is one of my favorites, I didn't take it, it was sent to me by the owner of Woody's and it really shows a beautiful view of San Miguel.  We even scattered the ashes of one of our Snoozemates' frequent cruisers in the Caribbean at that flag.  After a few beers and my great guacamole and pico de gallo the Woody’s team watched my ‘stuff’ while I went down the avenue to get a pedicure at the new Foot Therapy storefront.  They did a good job ($20 + $5 tip) I was very pleased.  The extended departure time for the ship allowed time for two more Bohemia beers at Woody's and a walk to Burritos Gorditos just a few blocks north of the square. They have GREAT burritos, the best I have ever had…ever.  Finishing my huge beef burrito I walked down to the Malecon and I caught a taxi back to the pier ($8). I was back on ship about 5:30 pm. for a 6:00 pm sail away.  No time for watch pier runners as I took a refreshing shower and relaxed.  I got a laundry order ready and told the steward to skip the cabin this evening.  I was content and not hungry so I skipped dinner and the Magic Show and enjoyed some internet time and extra sleep.  It was a wonderful day from head to toe’ in Cozumel today!

Wednesday / Belize / August 24th / Day 4
Sailing from Belize
Calm seas over night and the weather is cloudy.  I was up about 8:00 am and enjoyed my relaxing overnight sleep.  I went to the MDR for breakfast as most were collecting their tender tickets for Belize.  I ordered Melon, Eggs Benedict, Bacon, and Hash Browns.  It was good and the eggs were cooked perfectly.  I will not be going ashore today…I have done most everything there is to do in Belize: the Mayan sites, Caye Caulker, Zoo, Cave Tubing, and more.  I spoke with some Blue Cards and recommended Caye Caulker as it’s unique to Belize and one of my favorites…I have taken a boat or water taxi out there many times.  I had a walkabout on the outer decks this morning, there are quite a few guests staying on board.  I had cabin time doing some business until 12:45 and then went up to Lido for a Mongolian Grill.  It was actually better than Sunday since they have restocked the veggie’s…I always like the snow peas and bamboo shoots, today's meat choices were salmon, pork, or chicken, the Mongolian Grill is always a little different and a favorite.  It did rain midday so good decision for me to stay on board, but it will be a relief to the heat for those on Belize excursions.  Afternoon was personal cabin time, some work on this review, and I watched a movie.  I did go sit on deck 11 where they have the nicer chairs and watch the activities around the pool on Lido.  My favorite beer, Pilsner Urquell, is now stocked in cans on the Breeze (probably fleet wide) so it is now available on the boat decks (no glass) so I was able to enjoy a couple of those this afternoon.  I was fearful that the canned beer would be a lesser quality or even processed in North America, but no, it’s great and direct from Pilsen, Czech Republic.  About 6:30 I went down to Ocean Plaza (photo) and enjoyed a cocktail and watch us sail from Belize…a very pleasant location.  I then went to the Piano Bar to have my aperitifs with Jana who prepared a nice Cosmo and a Spicy Chipotle cocktail.  Dinner this evening was good, the Hotel Director sent me a bottle of Prosecco  (sparkling) that I shared with my table so that was a nice start. Thank you Damir.  I ordered the Beetroot Carpaccio, the Grilled Beef Tenderloin entree, the BBQ Pork Spareribs entree, and the S’mores Parfait for dessert.  The Beetroot Carpaccio and Tenderloin were excellent and the ribs were very good.  One of the best meals I have had on Carnival for a long while.  Why can it not be this consistently good fleet wide?  The production show tonight was 88 Keys and I was on my way to the late showing, but being so content with aperitifs and a great meal retired to the cabin.  It was a very nice day.

Thursday  /  Mahogany Bay,  Isla Roatan  /  August 25th / Day 5
Calm seas and another good nights sleep overnight.  It’s a damp morning so guests are slow to debark this morning.  I went to the MDR for a nice breakfast: Melon, Eggs, Bacon, Ham, Hash Browns, & Toast. Soon the weather began to clear so most were getting off the ship so it was time for me to visit the Tides pool on Lido aft.  I pretty much had the pool to myself for awhile, but as the day was now clear and hot guests joined in the pool.  I lasted until I notice one of my pet peeves…there was a guy in the pool wear croc’s.  I didn’t notice him enter or I would have called him on it. I’m sorry but if you wear anything on your feet and walk around deck and in the toilets…it doesn’t belong in the pool.  Later for lunch I went to Cucina del Capitano on deck 11 aft.  You select your own pasta, sauces, and toppings in a pasta bowl that is prepared for you.  I had Penne Pasta, Bolognese sauce, Cherry Tomatoes, & Italian Sausage.  Sides are bread and Ceasar Salad.  It was a very good lunch and free during the day, there is a service charge in the evening.  The photo will indicate if they use canned or actual fresh tomatoes on the Carnival Breeze.  The rest of the afternoon I did some work on the internet and had a brief nap until guests began arriving back onboard.  Too many screaming children running the passageways. I went to see the loyalty lady about a booking a cruise then to the Piano Bat for aperitifs.  Jana made me a Cosmo and a Blackberry cocktail, very nice.  Dinner was again very good, I ordered:the Roasted Pumpkin Soup, Escargots Bourguignonne, Braised Short Ribs/Loin, and the Pescado Asado Cubierto Con Tostones (fish fillet with crust of plantains and breadcrumbs) from the Roatan port menu.  I skipped dessert since I had two entrees and it was so good I will order the exact same items next week.  I actually did walk around this evening looking into several venues.  The had a brass type group at piano bar, a sing duo in the Red Frog a full house in the casino, and the Love and Marriage show in the theater.  Not up that late but soon retired.  It was a good day on the Carnival Breeze.

Friday / Fun day at Sea / August 26th / Day 6
Production Show: FLICK
Smooth seas with only a few minor bumps overnight and during the day.  I was up early and took advantage of the internet but stayed in bed since it’s a sea day brunch day and the MDR is open until 1:00 pm for brunch.  I finally got around and went down to the Blush Dining room about 10:00 am - there was a line, but it moved quickly.  I had a nice table at aft windows so I could see the wake as we sailed.  I ordered the Fruit Plate, and the Huevos Rancheros with sides of bacon, ham, & hash browns.  It was good, but not any better than the Blue Iguana on Lido deck so I’ll go with the Iguana in future for huevos rancheros.  Not as hot today so the guests were out on the open decks and enjoying the sun and pools, good that they are as we may not have sun tomorrow.  I had an easy day, I actually booked an Alaska cruise for this time next year, and had some cabin time.  In the late afternoon I ordered a BLT from room service.  The room service BLT is a signature item on Carnival.  They are excellent and everyone should order one just to experience it.  I went and sat on the Ocean Plaza to take in the late views of us sailing at sundown and thunderstorms on the horizon…very nice.  I went to the Piano Bar for my now regular aperitif with Jana.  Dinner was good, I ordered: the Pasta E Fagioli soup, the Stuffed Mushrooms, Four Season Salad, Dual of Filet Mignon  & Short Rib, and Grand Marnier Souffle for dessert.  It was good, but entree not as good as previous night.  After dinner I went to the theater to see the new production show FLICK.  The show is difficult to describe…it is the most elaborate Playlist Production to date.  The overall theme is movies with a lot of magic used as the element that ties together the various scenes.  The graphics are spectacular and I’ve never seen the use of fans (8) in a production as they do in Flick (see photo).  As I said one has to see it as it’s indescribable…in a good way.  BTW-because of the fans located foreground of the stage the best seats are probably lower balcony as the fans do block a lot of action.  It was cabin time after the show…A interesting day on the Carnival Breeze.

Saturday / Fun day at Sea / August 27th / Day 7
Senior Diamond on board
Smooth seas overnight, but I had interrupted sleep…seems kids were playing slam the doors around midnight then again at 2:00 am when the parents arrived back.  I did finally sleep well and late getting up after 9:30.  I went down to the MDR for the final sea day brunch about 10:30 and was seated with only a short wait.  I ordered the Fruit Plate and the Steak & Eggs…good as usual and steak better than entree last night.  This morning I went out on the Ocean Plaza and enjoyed the beautiful blue water and blue skies, the Captain is doing a great job of sailing between the thunderstorms I see on the horizon. They began serving the sea day BBQ at noon (I wouldn’t recommend if your a Texan), so I went up to cabin and watched a movie, Crazy Stupid Love, and filled out my customs declaration forms for tomorrow.  I went up for a Guy’s burger and did a walkabout, the weather continues to be perfect: sunny but not so hot.  The Platinum/Diamond party was at 5:00pm in the Limelight Lounge, the forgotten time and day that they buried the former Farewell Party.  The party itself was very nice, I took advantage of the Tito’s Vodka & Lemonade that they do at these parties.  Mike, the Cruise Director, did a good job and I actually won the award for senior Diamond on the cruise.  Afterwards I went to the Piano Bar and Jana allowed me to drink the take away Cosmopolitans I got at the party.  After a quick trip to Guest Services and changing clothes for dinner I did return to the Piano Bar for an aperitif: an Aperol Spritzer.  Dinner tonight was very good, I ordered the Beef Carpaccio, Vine Ripened Tomatoes & Chopped Lettuce, Pepper Pot, Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Breast, Carrot Cake and the Chocolate Bread Pudding.  The Carrot Cake was really amazing.  I intended to go to the show: Country Road in the theater, but basically after a walkabout ended up back at the cabin and relaxed.  It’s nice to be able to do as much or as little as I want.  After some reading I retired.  It was a very nice day on the Carnival Breeze.

Sunday / Galveston / August 28th / Beginning 2nd Cruise / Day 8
Red Frog Pub - note the screens
Smooth seas overnight and we were docked by 7:00 am in Galveston.  They began making announcement soon afterward so no sleeping in this morning.  I do have to change cabins so I needed to pack anyway.  Weather is same as last Sunday: very cloudy and possible rain. I went down to the MDR for Melon and an Eggs Benedict breakfast.  It was good.  I went back to the cabin to pack and my new cabin was made up very early so that makes it easier.  I took my hung shirts and smaller bags and they delivered my large bag and ice chest with my cokes in it.  I was in the new cabin on deck 6 and set up by 10:00 am.  At 10:30 the B2B guests met in the Sapphire Dining Room but we would wait a while as they were having a tough time getting the final passengers off the ship.  The six of us finally went down to customs and we went through although they were still processing the stragglers…they were certainly trying to get the new guests on board asap and they can’t until we are processed.  We were back on board about 11:40ish and they took our B2B photo and gave us a glass of champagne.  Very nice.  Another couple and I made it to the Red Frog Pub and received a complementary Thirsty Frog beer for being first into the pub.  Always Fun.  After my beer and visiting with my new friends I went back to the Sapphire Dining Room as they now serve lunch there on embarkation day…something new for Carnival.  I ordered: the Rigatoni with Three Meat Bolognese and a Baked Fish Filet, with Passion Fruit Mousse for dessert. It was a good lunch and another option for embark day. It was very busy in the lobby after lunch with lots of boarding guests and I’m now off the forward elevators so I ended up walking the stairs up to deck six…not easy for my knees, but best/fastest option.  I fine tuned cabin set up and I like this cabin layout much better.  They began making announcements for boat drill by 4:00 and it started soon afterward.  My muster station was in the theater so it was fine. I went down and sat on the Ocean Plaza to enjoy the sea breeze and interesting weather…we just got out before Galveston area was hit by big thunderstorms in fact the Gulf has several storms this week.  I went to the Piano Bar for my now usual aperitif with Jana before dinner.  I have a nice large round top in the center of the MDR this week, only three of eleven showed for dinner though.  I ordered: the Creme of Tomato Soup,  Heart of Lettuce salad, and the Beef Brisket with BBQ sauce from the Ports menu.  It was a good dinner, not many in the MDR this evening and fewer children compared to last week.  After dinner I stopped by the Piano Bar, they have a new performer this week.  I also heard the country music in the Red Frog and the Latin Duo on the Lobby stage…a lot going on competing with dinner.  I went to the cabin and discovered it may not be best of locations…I’m over the stage of the theater so so noise from the Welcome Show, but the loud noise was after when they were playing music at extreme volume until 11:00.  Rehearsal or something I don’t know, but the cabin was vibrating.  After 11:05 all was well and I retired. It was a FUN day on the Carnival Breeze.

Monday / Fun day at Sea / August 29th / Day 9
Captain Marino
A bit of rocking & rolling overnight as we make a bee line towards Tropical Depression No. 9. Eventually it is supposed to turn right and we are supposed to go opposite direction towards Grand Cayman …we’ll see how the timing goes...it is a beautiful sunny day.  I went to the MDR for breakfast and had Eggs Benedict again with a side of perfect bacon.  One advantage of my (good & bad) cabin location is that I’m just a few feet away from the somewhat secret forward observation areas so I can basically walk out to a private area and catch the sun and enjoy the sea breeze.  I’ve done it twice already and it’s nice.  The Captain made his midday announcement today and mentioned TD9 and that he has adjusted course to put more distance between us…it will be fine once were past it this evening…it should be fair seas the rest of the cruise. They delivered the chocolate strawberries just after noon as I was preparing a coke so that will be my snack today.  Thanks. Enjoyed a nice easy afternoon until the 4:00 pm  Diamond Party held in the Piano Bar.  Since I did not have a lunch today I did enjoy the wonderful appetizers they served as well as complementary cocktails.  It was nice seeing the officers and staff as well as my fellow Diamond guests.  We have 12 Diamonds on board this cruise.  Many continued the social hour++ even as they opened up the Piano Bar to the public.  This is the Captain’s elegant night and dinner, we had five at our table this evening.  I ordered:  Italian Wedding Soup, Spaghetti Carbonara (as starter), two Shrimp Cocktails and I asked server to surprise me with entree and she brought a Prime Rib of Beef and the Maine Lobster Tail.  Nice.  Since my cabin is above the theater I will be attending all the late shows this week so I had a nice upper level seat for the production show Motor City and I did really enjoy it.  R&B music with the electronic screens was very interesting and the eight cast members were entertaining.  After the show I returned to the cabin, easy just one level up, and the Platinum/Diamond gift was left: again the croc style plastic hat this time blue so I have the set.  It was an easy and Fun day on the Carnival Breeze.

Tuesday / Fun day at Sea / August 30th / Day 10
Tea Time - Tea Trolly
Rocking and rolling overnight and this morning we are trying to pass TD9…also rain on and off this morning.  Should be better soon now that we have entered the Caribbean south of Cuba.  I awoke early and did some review updating and some internet browsing.  I know someone is monitoring me as I made a post early 7:30ish about no Tea time on the Breeze…by 9:30am I got a call from the Maitre’D saying yes we have Tea.  It’s NOT in the main schedule, but I did find it in the ‘Hungry for More’ section on the back. Nice that they wanted me to know.  I went to the MDR for the Sea Day brunch.  I had a Fruit Platter and my ‘country breakfast’ to order: three eggs over easy, bacon, ham, hash browns, corned beef hash, white toast, tomato juice, and milk.  I decided to add blueberry pancakes as well.  I went in hungry and came out quite full.  Cabin time today but no outdoor secret deck 6 time due to rain.  I did go to the Tea Time at 3:00 pm on deck four aft Blush MDR.  It was good, I ordered the premium Carnival Special Bend ($1.95+) and had cucumber sandwiches and several sweets, my favorite being the Scone with Clotted Creme.  We did have tablecloths and proper cups and saucers. I mention as neither are now in the MDR for breakfast.  I listened to a set by the group Y2Kountry with Two Bad Apples in the Breeze Atrium, they were good.  I went to the Piano Bar at cocktail time.  I had my Cosmopolitan and we experimented with the Elderflower liquor and I believe we are close to a good aperitif.  MDR Dinner was again very good, I ordered: the Roasted Pumpkin Soup, Escargots Bourguignonne, Braised Short Ribs/Loin, and my now favorite Pot de Creme dessert.  88 Keys was the production show in the theater tonight although I was following the Texas Rangers dramatic come-from-behind walk off baseball game. I retired soon afterward.  It was a wet and rocking day on the Carnival Breeze.

Wednesday / Montego Bay Jamaica / August 31st / Day 11
Our Maitre'D's
We finally got beyond TD9 during the night and the storm is now Tropical Storm Hermine heading towards upper Florida.  Once we did the seas were calm and the sun shone as we approached Montego Bay.  I watched us sail in from the forward deck and it will be a nice day in Jamaica.  I went down to the MDR and had Eggs Benedict light...I want to have a nice lunch later today.  I had a walk about on the open decks and found a lot of guests staying on board, not just myself, in this port.  I reviewed the news and had cabin time until I went to Cucina del Capitano for lunch.  I ordered Bread & Cesar salad and two very different pasta bowls: 1st-Penne pasta with Bolognese sauce and eggplant, peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions, and arugula.  2nd-Linguine pasta with Pomodoro sauce and double cherry tomatoes and Italian sausage.  It was very good. I followed the Texas Rangers afternoon game this afternoon (win) and spent some time on the forward deck.  I also did some consulting on the remodel project at home although the DW has everything under control and finalize an Alaska booking for friends.  I went forward at sail away and enjoyed the evening sea air.  I took a nice sunset photo and as I turned around I saw Captain Marino on the Bridge and he gave me a thumbs-up.  Thanks Captain.  I went to the Piano Bar and had the nice new cocktail that Jana and I worked on…very good.  Several new friends came by as well…we’ll make it an Alchemy like gathering spot yet.  Dinner was good, I ordered two of the Beetroot Carpaccio, a Green Salad, and gave our server her options for entrees again: I got the Grilled Beef Tenderloin entree and the BBQ Pork Spareribs entree…same as I order last week. All good as was the Sticky Toffee Brioche I ordered for dessert.  After dinner I passed by the lobby area and saw a new fun event: Elevator Disco.  What a great idea…they stop the glass elevators on level four and the occupants dance for prizes.  Brilliant.  Our CD Mike is doing a great job adding FUN to the cruise.  The feature show in the theater was ‘Two Men Without Assistance’ a magic show that friends told me was very good.  I did some review updates and retired after some TV time.  It was a beautiful and FUN day today in Jamaica.

Thursday / Grand Cayman / September 1st / Day 12
Jana
Smooth seas overnight, just as I got used to the two RocknRoll days.  I slept very well…too late to make the MDR.  It’s a beautiful day in Grand Cayman.  I went to Lido deck for breakfast at the Blue Iguana, I had them add guacamole to the huevos rancheros tortilla with two fresh fried huevos on top, then from the Salsa bar I add cheese and Pico de Gallo.  A great breakfast.  I did a walkabout the ship and there were more guest than I thought there would be on board, I understand staying on in Jamaica, I guess the hassle of the tender gets many to on board.  Hermine is now a Hurricane but it will not effect us on our return…we are done with her.   I didn’t go to lunch until about 1:00 and had a very nice Mongolian Grill.  I noticed even nor guest out and about, perhaps some have returned from Cayman, but the pool deck is pretty full.  The Breeze is a nice ship with a lot of features so it is a destination in itself.  I went forward for sail away and we actually left early so everyone did a good job today.  I tried to get a photo of seven-mile beach and sit outside, but the sun is intense on the forward deck today. I went to the Piano Bar for aperitifs and I believe we have finalized our new cocktail, still no name but several at the bar ordered it…I won't mention ingredients as yet as I have good friends boarding the next cruise and I and them to sample it first and guess.  Photo: Jana is an extraordinary bartender and has been a delight for two weeks.  She has really added to my enjoyment of the cruise.  Dinner tonight was good, I ordered: the Pasta E Fagioli soup, the Stuffed Mushrooms, Four Season Salad, Dual of Filet Mignon  & Short Rib entree, and Grand Marnier Souffle for dessert.  Same as last week and it was better as I thought it would be…food has been very good.  After dinner I went to the theater to watch the production show FLICK again.  I sat center on higher deck so I could see the effects better…it was a perfect seat.  Again a very unique show.  I retired and watched coverage of the hurricane since all our network TV stations are out of Miami.  It was another Fun day on the Carnival Breeze.

Friday / Cozumel Mexico / September 2nd / Day 13
Woody's - Cozumel
Fairly smooth seas overnight and I slept very well.  We are the only ship docked at Puerto Maya and arrived about 10:00 am.   The Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas are at the International pier.  I went by the Blue Iguana and got some ingredients from the Salsa Bar and took them to the Omelette station for a very nice unique Tex-mex omelette. I’m taking my time this morning to allow a smoother debark.  I went down to deck zero about 11:30 am and it was somewhat smooth getting off and down the pier.  I really don’t understand how people try to take food off the ship…you will be caught.  The Security Guard appreciated that I had my backpack off before going through security and held it low so the dog could see it.  He thanked me.  I had a private taxi to San Miguel and arrived at Woody’s, my Cozumel HQ, about noon.  I enjoyed a diet coke and listened to live music while installing updates on my computer.  The guacamole is always good as well as the Bohemia beer.  Bless the heart of some of my North American friends from yankee land.  A older group of four came in and spent 30 minutes on the menu, first wanted spaghetti (why…and it was off the menu) and one finally ordered the CFS (chicken fried steak) and later told his group he ordered chicken. They all ordered bland American…we’re in Mexico I think I’d go that way. I thought I was watching a comedy show…Bless ‘em.  I went by Burritos Gorditos again for a nice Pulled Pork Burrito…it was excellent.  Taxi to ship ($8) and in the stateroom by 5:15.  I watched sail away from the forward deck, we were the last ship to sail from Cozumel and the water is beautiful as usual.  I debated as to remain in the cabin as I did last week on Cozumel day, but I went down to the Piano Bar for my new aperitif.  I did go to dinner as well, I only ate the appetizers: the Spring Rolls, and Meatballs as well as the peach ice creme for dessert.  They didn’t have a production show, but Mike hosted his Love and Marriage show in the theater.  It was a nice day in Cozumel and on The Breeze.

Saturday / Fun day at Sea / September 3rd / Day 14
Towel Animals on Lido Deck
Rolling seas overnight and I woke early and turned the cabin TV to the Lido Deck camera and noticed that we had been invaded by towel animals.  I went up and took some photos of the towel animals around the pool and then got some breakfast juice to take back to the cabin since it was too early for breakfast items.  I returned to bed and slept until a decent hour.  My plan today is to watch NCAA football and my team plays the early game at 11:00 am.  I ordered two BLT’s from room service that were delivered just before kickoff, I still have diet coke in the refrigerator, and Swedish Fish for a sweet.  My own Football Party. The game didn’t go well for me, but at least I was able to watch it.  I spent some time on my almost private (it was today) forward deck…a couple very light very brief showers, but overall a beautiful day.  Mike, the Cruise Director made a ship wide announcement stating that due to some electrical issues with a motor and the head winds slowing our speed that we would not arrive in Galveston on time.  They anticipate a two hour delay.  The Platinum and Diamond Party was held in the Lamplighter Lounge at 5:00 pm.  There were not as many as previous week.  I sat with my new friends and got two Tito’s lemonades strait away…plus two Cosmopolitans.  I was again the senior cruiser on board.  Thanks Carnival it was a fun party that got extended to the Piano Bar until dinner time.  For our final dinner I ordered the Beef Carpaccio, Vine Ripened Tomatoes & Chopped Lettuce, and the Prime Rib.  After dinner there was a party in Piano Bar and activities all over the ship for final night Fun.  It was a great sea day on the Carnival Breeze.

Sunday / Galveston / September 4th / Debarkation
Approaching Galveston (my forward deck)
We had slightly rocky seas overnight going into Galveston.  We know we are going to be two hours late and I know how most guests are completely unaware of how debark works and will always screw-up the plan…so I just decided to play it by ear. I began packing then I went to breakfast in the MDR, a very nice final breakfast of melon, fried eggs, bacon, ham, toast and more.  I had a very nice table and view from the aft windows as we arrived in Galveston harbor then backing into our dock at Terminal one.  As I walked back to my cabin my suspicions were confirmed as all the passageways were already packed with guests and their luggage.  I knew there was no way I would be able to reach the designated VIP area so I just finished packing and waited in my cabin for a while and let the anxious passengers off first.  Mike began calling for specific decks for self assist so that indicates that the back up was probably gone so I decided to head down to deck three.  I lucked out on getting an elevator right away and actually was through the ship fairly well considering.  Sure enough once I arrived in the terminal there was a large group  (80+) of guest who were dumb enough to go down before luggage was even available.  They can not access the area due to fork lift traffic unloading bags.  They are lucky they didn’t get thrown out of the building into the mess of early arrivals. I was through US. Customs by 10:15 and at EZ Cruise parking by 10:30.  I always walk back to the car as by the time you walk to the shuttle pick up location you could be half the way to the lot itself.  Much faster to walk.  I was off the island about by 10:45 am. (Gasoline on the island was $1.95 gal.)  I was back at the ranch before 3:45 pm.  Overall about 2.5 hour behind a normal rival time.

Cabins
First cruise I had cabin 9359 a 1A interior located on deck 9 next to the mid elevators on starboard side.  The cabin has a swipe type safe, one twin bed, three-section closet, two chairs, one electrical outlet on counter/dresser, Telephone on desk, Small Stool at Dresser, Kleenex dispenser, and Hair dryer in counter/dresser, and small flat screen TV with the interactive features.  There is an empty refrigerator. The cabin is great for me as a solo, but not so much for two. My cabin steward was very good, the cabin was always clean and ice container filled. Second week I had cabin 6226 located on deck six forward on port side. It is smaller than previous, but I liked the configuration of the cabin much better, the TV is close…it was on other side of cabin in 9359 too far away to see a small screen from the bed.  Same features in 6226 as previous cabin with one less chair. Downside of this cabin is noise from theater…upside is it’s near the forward observation deck.

Dining / Food / Bars / Entertainment
Both Main Dining Rooms are very nice especially the Blush Dining room.  The Blue Iguana for burritos and Guy’s Burgers are excellent.  The buffet food is pretty standard fare, but selected desserts are good.  The MDR food on Breeze is much better than other Carnival ships, I was about to give up on the quality of the MDR food on Carnival but Breeze is very good.  I had a very nice table locations, good fellow guests, and the waiters were good.  They have returned the butter knife to the American Table…thank god. The saucers for coffee are now gone from breakfast tables. The Mongolian Grill and Cucina del Capitano are great options for lunch.  No Alchemy Bar on the Breeze but I thoroughly enjoyed my daily aperitifs at the Piano Bar with Jana and friends. 

Crew
The entire ship crew were very friendly, they themselves can make the cruise more enjoyable for the guest. Waiters and Cabin stewards especially very friendly. They always seemed to have a smile on their face and eager to please the guests. The excellent training by Carnival is quite obvious.  Favorites this cruise were my MDR wait team, Jana in the Piano Bar; and overall Crew in general. The Ship Officers were fantastic…they really seem to enjoy working as a team and are very friendly.  I have never had so many crew call me by name on any previous cruise.

New and Improved

Everyone (security, embark, boat drill) now use card readers for Sail & Sign cards.
Return of the butter knife
$3 doubles on bar drinks
Hub Application is outstanding
MDR is open on Embarkation Day
Pilsner Urquell is now in cans and be ordered on outside boat decks

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CRUISE

Diamond Guest Cocktail Parties with Captain & Senior Officers
Carnival Breeze Crew members
Playlist Productions Shows: Flick, 88 Keys, Motor City
Platinum / Diamond Parties
Cozumel Days

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Thank you for reading.  As an older/experienced cruiser my activities will be much different from a newer cruiser as I will be doing fewer things on board simply because of the 'been there done that' factor and frankly I don't have the energy as I once did...Priorities do change over time. I do love to cruise!!






4 comments:

Linda said...

Wonderful post and lovely photos. Thank you so much for sharing!

holly estes said...

Thank you great review you have me.completely excited for my cruise.

Amy Cuchna said...

Thank you for your review. I am looking forward to cruising on the Breeze in December. I hope Jana will still be there and maybe your drink will have a name. I will order one when I go.

Dustin Troxell said...

I really want to be your apprentice!