Saturday, August 21, 2021

Carnival Breeze Cruise Review - August 21, 2021

Carnival Breeze in Cozumel Mexico - July 27, 2021

Just The Facts:
Ship:  Carnival Breeze
Theme:  WE'RE BACK
Ship Captain:  Rocco Lubrano
Cruise Director: Adriaan
Ports: Galveston, Progreso, Cozumel, Galveston

This is my 9th time to sail on the Carnival Breeze, my 80th Carnival cruise, and my 157th cruise overall.  I am sailing with the Dear Wife (DW), our first cruise together in several years. 

Day One -- Saturday --  August 21, 2021 -- Galveston Embarkation
We have 10:30-11:00 embarkation time so we left the Ranch at 5:00 am for the 4+ hour drive to the Port of Galveston.  The timing was excellent as we arrived at EZ Cruise Parking at 9:30 an an hour before our scheduled check in window.  It was busy at the port as the Vista is also embarking guests today.  We were shuttled to the pier and entered the terminal before 10:30.  Our vaccination and tests were confirmed, then we went through security before arriving at the Carnival check-in counters.  I asked for a new photo since I had trouble with face recognition last cruise.  We were sitting in the waiting area by 10:50 am...yes perfect timing.  We were among the very first boarding at 11:00 and we were in our cabin on Lido deck within minutes.  I had a very nice Mongolian Wok bowl for lunch while the DW unpacked in the cabin.  We soon went to our Muster Station then back to Lido Marketplace and the Salad Bar.  I sampled the Elderflower Cake and DW had a Pizza for lunch.  I then unpacked, met our cabins steward Jesus, and we were settled in our home for five days by 1:00 pm. Nap Time!  I did a walk around the ship before sail away just to check some activities.  Disc Jockey and dancers in the Lobby area, Fishbowls in the Red Frog Pub…but no more embark specials, and lots of activity since they no longer close down everything for boat drill.  We enjoyed a very nice sail away from the Balcony, we saw: the Carnival Vista, the Car Ferries, the new Royal Caribbean site, a huge Festival on the beach, Dolphins, and interesting Pelicans flying in formation over the ship.  About 5:30 we went down to the Alchemy Bar. It was great seeing the same group of Alchemists again from the July cruise, they are a great team. It was a very unique evening as the Alchemy was not very busy. Actually, for about 20 minutes we were the only two sitting at the bar. Great cocktails as usual.  At 6:45 the Breeze Band, IMHO currently the best band at sea, did thier first set. A very entertaining group. We took advantage of the opportunity to visit more with the Alchemists, especially my long-time friend Daniel and listen to the Band.  About 8:00ish we went to the Deli to eat. Since the DW is a vegetarian we tend to be more creative with dining options, more specialty and less MDR (Dining Room). She had a nice Grilled Cheese and I had a Meatball Sandwich and a good BLT. All with Fries, I did get a Tiramisu from Lido Marketplace for dessert. We retired to the cabin for needed rest and I enjoyed the ship rocking me to sleep. It was a FUN embarkation day on the Carnival Breeze.

Day Two  -- Sunday --  August 22, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea
The seas were rolling overnight and I slept very well.  I enjoy an active sea especially at night.  I was up
Diamond Luncheon
early and using the WiFi package I purchased ($60) to update this blog and get news. It’s a beautiful morning at sea and I went out to my favorite place on the ship for breakfast: the Blue Iguana.  I had my Huevos Rancheros with two fresh fried eggs on top, pico de gallo, and watermelon slices.  I took an arepas (sweet cornbread & cheese) back to the cabin for the DW.  I did a walkabout around the decks and there are not really very many guests on board ship.  My guess is that we are less than 50% capacity.  Fantastic for those of us on board, but concerning for Carnival. I don’t think guests want to go to the trouble of a 72 hour covid pre-test for a short cruise, I know I canceled and consolidated all my remaining cruises into B2B cruises, that way I’m tested for more than one cruise at a time. Although fewer guests there are enough Diamond guests on board to have a luncheon and it was held at 11:00 am in the Sapphire Dining Room.  The Captain welcomed us on only the seventh cruise of the Breeze since restart and introduced the senior staff.  The menu was good, I ordered the Pork Belly appetizer, the Steak entree, and the unique chocolate Tres Leche dessert.  Very generous with the cocktails and numerous servers … I had my share of Carnival Cosmopolitans.  After the luncheon I had the second longest nap of my cruising life sleeping until 5:30 pm.  It was wonderful.  Our wake up call was the Captain making an announcement that we would be missing our port call to the Yucatan.  It seems that Hurricane Gloria disturbed the narrow channel to the long pier at Progreso.  At least we will have Cozumel, the Breeze had to cancel that on the previous cruise due to Hurricane Gloria. We later met and visited with friends that live near us then went to the Alchemy Bar for cocktails.  We had great seats at the bar to watch two sets by the Breeze Band, my now favorite band.  They were great as usual especially their Eagles tribute set.  We had a front row seats to see Anca and Lidja, the Alchemists, rock out with the band as well.  Tonight the Alchemy Bar was packed as usual, I guess last night was just an anomaly.  We made a dash to the Market Place Deli just before it closed at 11:00 pm.  DW had a Grilled Cheese, and I had a Reuben and a BLT, all with fries.  Great sandwiches.  So easy to return to our cabin since we are on the Lido deck.  It was a really FUN day at sea.

Day Three  -- Monday --  August 23, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well.  Today is our bonus sea day due to our port call being canceled.  I went to the Blue Iguana about 9:30 am for my usual breakfast and was soon joined by the DW who had a custom breakfast burrito.  Interesting people watching and pool not really too crowded with the lower guest count.  We did a walkabout to the Spa area, Serenity Deck, the Water Park, Tides pool deck and visited with the girls at Blue Iguana bar.  We ended up having a full morning of balcony time enjoying our Coca-colas and watching the sea.  We enjoyed watching some Sea gulls chase the Flying Fish, we are enjoying life and easily amused.  Wifi working much better than 1st July cruise and accessible from the balcony. I had a very nice Guy’s Burger for lunch and DW had Guy’s fries.  So convenient staying on Lido deck, I just popped over to Guy’s and brought them back to eat on the balcony. So easy.  Cabin time once it warmed up outside, so movies and nap time in the afternoon.  We went down to the Alchemy Bar for Aperitifs about 6:30 then to the Sapphire Dining Room for dinner.  Probably our only visit to the MDR this cruise but I wanted to go as it’s my favorite menu.  We were seated at great round table in the center of the room just ‘showtime’ was announced.  It was interesting.  Tonight I ordered the Linguini as an appetizer as well as the Meatballs then combine them for an even better appetizer.  I ordered the Steak entree and it was excellent.  Fantastic meal.  We intended to go back to the Ocean Plaza to hear the Breeze Band, but decided to take the evening off and rest for Cozumel the next day.  It was a FUN bonus sea day on the Carnival Breeze.
Day Four  -- Tuesday --  August 24, 2021 -- Isla Cozumel, Mexico
Slightly rolling seas as we transition from the Gulf of Mexico into the Caribbean Sea.  We were docked by 4:00 am as I believe they had a medical evacuation, I happened to be awake.  At 7:00 am they actually made an announcement that guests could actually leave the ship.  That got everyone moving.  I went to Blue Iguana as usual and was joined later by the DW.  I had my Huevos Rancheros with two fried eggs & pico de gallo and she had an open burrito of eggs, potatoes, guacamole, cheese, & sour creme.  Very good breakfast.  About 8:30 am we left the ship and made our way to the taxi stand and a took a taxi ($8) to San Miguel.  Our first stop was at the large Mexican flag and Memorial that extends into the sea. We scattered the ashes of a good cruising friend as per her wishes.  This is the second cruise friend who has done this.  We then made our way to the San Miguel Arcangel Church for some reflection.  Then to Farmacias Similares for various medications.  This has been our pharmacy of choice since they opened the Cozumel location several years ago.  It was now 10:00 am so off to Woody’s Bar and Grill for several hours.  Being my Cozumel HQ I was able to use their wifi to catch up on a lot of business and DW had adequate time to shop in the many shops in the downtown area.  The Mexican Coca-cola tastes so good here and we later had Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, and Chips as well as Bohemia cerveza, my favorite Mexican beer.  Thanks Woody’s.  DW was successful in getting a Guayaberas Shirt for me, a new Mexican hand-stitched blouse for herself, and a little Mexican dress for the granddaughter.  A successful day in San Miguel.  Since it was a very hot and humid day we decided to return to the ship early.  Upon return DW hit the Lido pool and I went down the Twister slide before joining her.  After cooling off I had a Guy’s Ringer burger and DW a mixed vegetarian bowl from Blue Iguana.  A very nice late lunch.  We also enjoyed some refreshing Bushwackers from the bar.  Time for short nap as we sailed away from Cozumel.  Later we visited with friends at the Casino bar and I took the opportunity to have a Pilsner Urquell beer.  One of my favorite beers in the world.  Alexandra the bartender & I both have made the beer pilgrimage to Pilsen.   We then went to the Alchemy and Ivanna made our cocktails this evening,,,very good.  We were going to see 88 Keys the show in the theater, but ended up getting a late snack from the Lido Marketplace.  They basically serve the same food items as on the MDR menu,  We then took the desserts back to the cabin and retired for the evening.  It was a great day in Cozumel and on the Breeze,  
Day Five  -- Wednesday --  August 25, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea
Fairly smooth seas overnight and I slept fair.  I was up early and we have numerous thunderheads and thunder this morning.  I predict rain today.  Staying on Lido deck it was very easy for me to get early photos of the Towel Animal invasion.  Every lounger or space on Lido deck had a towel animal relaxing on it.  Very interesting display.  At least they beat the chair hogs. I had my usual Huevous Rancheros with fried eggs for breakfast and took some Arepas back for DW in the cabin. I have enjoyed our Lido location that makes this so easy.  We did some shopping in the Shoppes and I also bought a $100 gift card (minimum) at Cherry on Top as we will have access OBC this cruise.  At 11:30 we went to the Ovation Theater for the Platinum/Diamond event.  We had some Tito’s & Lemonade drinks and visited with new and old friends.  I was the most frequent guest with 557 days sailed on Carnival. We went up to deck 11 to Cucina de Capitano for lunch.  I had two different bowls of Pasta and extras, you can choose a wide variety of pastas, extras, and sauces, it was very good.  The afternoon was Cabin/Nap/Balcony time, the balcony was great...on on the shady side with beautiful weather all afternoon.  We went down to the Ocean Plaza and the Alchemy Bar at 6:00 just in time for the beginning of the Breeze Band’s final musical sets of the cruise.  Best of two worlds: Alchemy Bar cocktails and the best band at sea.  A very entertaining evening, the band really captures the audience over the course of the cruise…guests rush the stage after the finale for photos wi featuring th the band…something that happens at concert venues.  As is my new custom I had my final dinner at the Seafood Shack, I love the Lobster Rolls.  DW had a pizza.  We then went to the 9:30 Comedy Show in the Limelight theater featuring Chris Wiles.  He was good, first time I had laughed out loud at a Carnival Punchliner show in years.  We then retired to the cabin to pack for debarkation in the morning.  It was a great final sea day on the Carnival Breeze.

Debarkation -- Monday August 2nd
Smooth seas on our last night on board and I slept very well.  Up at 6:00 am just as we were entering the outer jetty at Galveston harbor. Time to pack. We had breakfast from the Lido Marketplace then went to the Diamond meet location by 7:15 am.  We were among the first off  the ship about 7:50 am.  Facial Recognition at US Border/Customs so easy going all the way off.  A short wait to fill Parking shuttle bus and soon at our car on on the road  A short stop at Buc*ees in Waller Texas (gas 2.59) and at the Ranch by 1:15 pm.

Crew / Staff
I found the crew to be great for the most part.  Housekeeping was cleaning constantly everywhere you looked.  Enjoyed the Officers and Crew I interacted with during the cruises. Our cabin steward Jesus was adequate.  Alchemists and other bartenders and servers all excellent.

Food / Drink
After 80 Carnival cruises the MDR food has become very routine to me and I really don’t get excited about it as I used to do. I do love the Mongolian Wok, Cucina de Capitano, Blue Iguana, the Deli, BBQ, or anything a little different.  I really don’t drink Pepsi at all and disappointed that they changed beverages. Of Course the Alchemy Bar is my favorite.

We had cabin 10261 a balcony on Lido deck by the forward elevators on starboard side.  Great location close to Lido deck activities.  The cabin has the usual Carnival layout with three closets, bed stand with lamp, push button safe, mini refrigerator, four dresser drawers, and stool at dresser/desk. A lot of floor space and good balcony location.

The Dream Class was not my favorite class of ship as initially they did not have a Guy’s Burger nor an Alchemy Bar, at least until the Carnival Magic.  But now I really like the Dream class.  They have all the 2.0 upgrades and some of the old favorites as the original style Mongolian Wok. Everything was ship shape as far as I could tell on board.  We are sailing well below capacity that actually makes it very nice for guests on board.  I believe Carnival is saying about 60% capacity, but I believe it only be half perhaps be lower.


Alchemy Bar

The Breeze Band 

Old and new Friends.    
Diamond Luncheon
Cozumel Port Day

Blue Iguana

Mongolian Grill

Punchliner Comedy Club