Saturday, November 13, 2021

Carnival Breeze Cruise Review November 13-21, 2021

Carnival Breeze Cruise Reviews

Just the Facts:
Ship:  Carnival Breeze
Sailing:  November 13-21, 2021
Captain: Isidoro Renda
Cruise Director: Erin
Ports: Galveston- Cozumel, Mexico (2) - Yucatan (Progreso), Mexico - Galveston

I am sailing another B2B. This is my 14th &15th cruises on the Carnival Breeze, my 88th-89th Carnival cruises, and my 165th &166th cruises overall.  I am sailing as a solo.  

Day One -- Saturday --  November 13th, 2021 -- Port of Galveston  Embarkation   
The day began early on Twisted Oak Ranch. I was up early and finished packing and hit the road south about 5:30 am. I drove straight through to EZ Cruise Parking arriving about 10:05 am. Glad I made reservations as they were full as the Vista was also on turnaround day today. I was shuttled over to Terminal Two and it was a bit confusing, I saw that they were allowing several noon time slots through with the 10:00 and 10:30 times. They may have been allowed as they were taking the new Rapid-antigen tests being offered on a trial basis in November. Perhaps still working out the protocols. I was through Security and Check-in and seated about 10:50 in the waiting area with only a short wait for 11:00 am boarding. I rolled my bags with me as I always do and dropped them at my cabin by 11:15 am. Relatively easy process. Sweet. I unpacked a bit then went to have a very nice Mongolian Wok Stir-fry lunch. Muster drill was next that took all of 10 minutes at B-3 in the Sapphire Dining Room. I watched the OU vs. Baylor football game this afternoon. It did not go well for my Sooners and they lost their first game of the year, 9-1 is still #1 in the Big 12. I then sat out by the Tides Bar until the sail away…it was a bit cool even in the sun so fall weather is upon us. I had cabin time then went up to the Lido Marketplace for dinner. I had the Sweet & Sour Breaded Shrimp and the Roast Beef that I had them grill for me… a very nice dinner. I went to the 
Alchemy Bar and met friends and enjoyed seeing the Alchemy team. Anca again prepared a very nice Ancalicious drink for me. The full Breeze Rock Band performed tonight and was was nice to see them all together again. Peter's (male lead singer) extended family were onboard and they were a party themselves. I retired to the cabin after their second set and my second cocktail. It was a long but very good embarkation day on the Carnival Breeze.

Day Two -- Sunday --  November 14th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I do have a balcony cabin this cruise so I enjoyed the early morning peacefulness of the open sea. Very calm and warming up this morning that will become a beautiful day. I have gained 10 lbs. since we have started back cruising in July so I want to eat better on this cruise, but I’m not starting this morning. I went to the Blue Iguana for my usual breakfast: Breakfast Taco with two fried eggs (easy) garnished with Cheese & Pico de Gallo. Also an Arepa, Salsas, and watermelon. The BI crew welcomed me back and prepared my exact order when I said the usual. Nice. I enjoyed my balcony until 11:00 when I went to the Diamond Party in the Limelight Lounge. I saw several Diamond friends and still B2B’ers on board. I enjoyed several cocktails and hors d'oeuvre and I enjoy visiting with the senior staff. After the party, I went to the casino and turned my $25 free play into $35 in real money on the Roulette wheel. Sweet. I then decided to play Texas Hold’em for a couple of hours. I did well. Since I’m booked on a TA low promotional fare I do not get Shareholder OBC, but I won more than that amount this afternoon so my Alchemy Bar bill is covered for a few nights. I may have to try that again later in the cruise. Lots of guests watching the Dallas Cowboys football game on the Seaside Theater and in the Red Frog Pub and the Casino. They are enjoying it…they won. Beautiful weather so I enjoyed balcony time then went to the Deli for a great BLT sandwich with fries about 3:00 pm.  The rest of the afternoon included a long nap. .No MDR for me on this elegant night. I had that much needed cabin time until going up to the Alchemy Bar to see the Breeze Rock Band in the Ocean Plaza about 8:00 pm. Since I was fresh I actually stayed through all three sets of the Band,..I really enjoy listening to them. I also got to visit with old and new friends this evening. A FUN night at Alchemy. I actually closed down the bar then went to the casino with a long-time Diamond friend and when I briefly paused to watch the action on the Texas Hold’em table…someone asked me to join and I did. A half an hour later I walked away with a very nice pot. I cashed out most of it and went to Guest Services and paid my Ship account balance in full plus cash in pocket and positive start-up money to play again later. A very successful evening. Also the latest I have stayed up on a cruise ship in many years. It was a Fun, profitable, and interesting day on the Carnival Breeze.  
Day Three -- Monday --  November 15th, 2021 -- Cozumel Mexico -- 600th Day on Carnival
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well although briefly…I was in the cabin by 1:00 am, but it was an hour later before I had this blog updated. You can tell I was buzzed by the late-night win. I went to the Blue Iguana for my usual breakfast about 7:30 and it was busier than I thought it would be that early with guests preparing for their Cozumel day. We are following the Carnival’s Mardi Gras into Puerto Maya as we sail on the beautiful early morning. Today is also my 600th day on a Carnival ship. I was planning a slow morning but once I realized that the Breeze was well ahead of the Mardi Gras on debarking I quickly got my shore kit together and was off the ship by 9:00 am ship time. I did beat the hoards on the pier and had a taxi into San Miguel strait away. Knowing how and where to go helps.  My Cozumel HQ, Woody’s Bar & Grill, was opening as we are now off of daylight savings time and Cozumel is on Eastern Standard Time…so one hour later than Texas time. I started with a Sprite zero and updated my Accounts using Woody’s great WiFi. Nice to be back. I ordered fresh Guacamole and Pico de Gallo and enjoyed my favorite Cerveza: Bohemia Clara. I also enjoyed the LIVE music today too. I took a taxi ($8) back to the ship about 2:45 pm and enjoyed some cabin time until the sail away. My balcony faced Carnival’s new Mardi Gras so it was exciting to experience backing away from the pier with guests and crew on each ship waving and yelling to each other as we left the pier. I had dinner in the Lido Marketplace with a friend and it was my favorite menu night, I had a Beet Salad, the Linguine, and several of the small Strip Steaks. All were good too. Afterward, I enjoyed a cocktail then some Pilsner Urquell beers at the Breeze Bar with Alexsandra and friends. I then went to the Love & Marriage Show in the Ovation Theater with Erin. I had not seen one in many years, it was humorous, but the same scripted routine did over the years. Erin did a good job and the guests do love it. After visiting with friends at the Breeze Bar I did sit in on the Texas Hold’em table. Not as successful this evening, but I was playing with winnings that influenced my game. You take more chances when it’s not your $ and that’s what happened to me…Fun though. The downside is that you have to shower again before bed due to all the smoke in the casino. It was a FUN day in Cozumel and on the Carnival Breeze.
Day Four -- Tuesday --  November 16th, 2021 -- Progreso/Yucatan Mexico 

Rolling seas with a few bumps as we transitioned from the Caribbean Sea back into the Gulf of Mexico overnight but I slept very well. I went to the Blue Iguana for my usual breakfast…the weather is wonderful today. We were soon docked at the long Yucatan pier, but I will go into town later and will get some TA work done during the morning hours. I finalized my Mardi Gras group this morning so I went down to the pier and took the shuttle into Progreso about noon. I visited a few shops and I did buy another Guayabera shirt from the same vendor as a few weeks ago. I ended up spending most of the day at Los Henequenes. The weather was fantastic and I had a great table on the patio with a view of the beach, bridge, and plaza. I started with my favorite Mexican Cerveza: Bohemia Clara. I enjoyed Guacamole and Chips while using their WiFi. I was going to order a cocktail and the manager recommend their special mojito: a Dragon Fruit Mojito. Unbelievably good. On my second I ordered the second shot of Rum that they served on the side...that packs more punch. Later they prepared me a plate of assorted appetizers (fried) that I enjoyed with Cerveza (they just go together) that will be my dinner for the day. I finalized my visit with another Dragon Mojito and they gave me a complimentary shot of Rum on the side. Thank you and I was feeling very content. I splurged a bit and took a taxi back to the ship as the DW and I used to do when we partied in Progreso. Guests who don’t leave the ship are missing a great excursion port and one can make their own fun in Progreso…plus the great shopping and massages available in this port. Once back on board I visited with great friends who are celebrating their anniversary on board today. I loved the aft-facing cabin that their travel agent (Moi) got for them. I relaxed then went to the Alchemy Bar for a cocktail about 8:00 pm then moved to the Breeze Bar to get ready for the big event of the week in the theater. The Breeze Rock Band did their signature Eagles Tribute set to a full house in the Ovation Theater. It was fantastic…so glad many more guests were able to see it. The Band rocked it tonight. I then went to the Limelight Lounge at 10:45 for the Punchliner Comedy Clubs feature comedian Mark Sweeney. He was funny, I’ve been disappointed in the comedy shows on recent cruises, but Mark was a genuine comedic personality with a good act. It was time to hit the small themed midnight buffet (11:30-1:00 am) in the Lido Market Place, it was Italian so I enjoyed the Penne Pasta and Meatball Sub. I saw some friends at the Casino Bar and sat for a moment…the Texas Hold’em table was full with the regulars…I thought about it, but I’ve had such a great day that I passed and was soon back in the cabin. It was a fantastic day in Progreso and on the Carnival Breeze.  

Day Five -- Wednesday --  November 17th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I was up early and updated this blog and more. Only fruit for breakfast as I was originally considering the SeaDay Buffet today. A busy morning with an appointment for my antigen rapid test in the Limelight Lounge. It went well taking about 45 minutes from beginning to end and I was negative as expected. After the test I ordered some home tests online for possible use for my November 28th cruise, it’s the Sunday following Thanksgiving and it may be difficult to get a test. At 11:30 they had the Platinum and Diamond party in the Ovation Theater, there were a lot of guests, not that many Diamonds. They did recognize me passing 600 days on Carnival this sailing…thank you. Afterward, I had a cocktail with friends in the Breeze Bar, then went up to Cucina de Capitano for lunch. I ordered the Salad and two Pasta Bowls, one with Linguine & Tomato Sauce and a Penne with Pomodoro Sauce. Very good. After lunch, it was Cabin time for a wee nap. About 6:00 pm I went to the Alchemy Bar to catch the Acoustic set by the Breeze Band and of course have a cocktail. The band did their final set of the cruise at 7:00 pm. IMHO the second-best set they do other than The Eagles set. Afterward, I went to the Piano Bar…another venue I had not done in years. Quite FUN and I enjoyed watching guests being so involved. I can see why there are hard-core Piano Bar fans. It was a FUN final sea day at sea on the Carnival Breeze.

Day One of 2nd Cruise — Thursday --  November 18th, 2021 -- Port of Galveston
This is the beginning of the 2nd leg of B2B. They are expecting over 3600 for this 4-day cruise, the largest capacity sailing on the Breeze since the shut-down. Smooth seas overnight and I was up by 6:00 am as we were sailing into Galveston. It was a bit foggy when we came in, the fog horns were blaring. (photo left) I packed my bags then went to the Lido Marketplace for breakfast: Eggs Benedict, Sausage, Potatoes, & Milk. About 8:30 I took my hanging clothes to my new cabin on deck 2, then went to my B2B meet-up location on time for the first time by 9:00 am. We got our new cards and had our photo taken for the security system before marching down to the terminal for Customs & Border Officials. We were back on board, had our Mimosa drinks, and B2B photo taken well before 10:00 am. I went to my cabin and my bag had not been moved so I went to deck 8 and moved it down myself since the elevators were no longer busy. I did a quick cabin set-up then went to deck 10 aft to call the Ranch. All under control there. They actually boarded guests a bit early so I went to the Mongolian Grill at 11:00 am for a fantastic Stir-fry bowl and some salads. Next was Muster/safety drill in the Casino on deck 4…quick and easy. About 12:30 I met friends that I have sailed with previously at the Red Frog Pub. We enjoyed a regular (not a fishbowl) Jamaican Breeze cocktail and the RFP was packed with guests enjoying the noon-2:00 Happy Hour.  Next a stop at the Breeze Bar for a Bushwacker and watch new guests board. Yes, this is going to be a full cruise with interesting guests. I had cabin time before going to 6:00 dinner in the Blush dining room. I’m going to do set dining these four days. Tonight I ordered the Roasted Tomato Soup, the Sweet & Sour Breaded Shrimp, and two wonderful Broiled Strip Loin Steaks, with a Fruit plate for dessert. It was surprisingly better than expected.  The MDR was packed, all tables filled, in July they did not even use the upper level. No Alchemy nor other venues for me tonight, I retired early for some needed rest. It was a very nice embarkation day on the Carnival Breeze.

Day Two of 2nd Cruise — Friday --  November 19th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Rolling seas overnight and I slept very well although I did do my middle-of-the-night WiFi projects. After my second round of sleep, I went to the Tides Bar for Bloody Mary’s with Bi Jesh. (photo right) I did purchase a Cheers package as well so enjoyed another. We passed through a front so it was a bit rainy and cloudy in the morning before clearing for the rest of the day. There were huge lines for Omelets & just basic breakfast in the Lido Marketplace…we are sailing at capacity now. The Diamond event was at 11:00 am in the Limelight Lounge, Only about 20 Diamonds on board but there were several guests so an adequate group for Captain Renda’s introduction of Senior Staff. I enjoyed the appetizers and a cocktail. Afterward, I got my $25 Free Play chips and went to the Roulette wheel. I hit on all 5 of the $5 chips I played so took my $30 and my free play-off. I then played some Texas Hold’em but wasn’t as lucky. The Slot Pull was happening in front of me and a friend was playing…they were having fun. Busy inside the Ships with the cool weather outside. I went up to the non-smoking Casino annex to play my remaining $25 free play and turned it into $35 before losing the free play. That’s $65, the most I have won. Too bad the poker table wiped it out…but it was fun, Huge lines for Guys Burgers today so I had a late lunch from the Deli: a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with fries. It was good but not near as good as the Big Chicken on the Mardi Gras. Sailing with a full ship is not as fun as sailing with a reduced capacity. Carnival should be in positive revenue on this ship. I had Cabin time until 6:00 pm dinner. Tonight was Elegant night and the MDR was again full. I now have table 606 a much better table location in the Blush dining room. Thank you, Natasha. Tonight I ordered the Italian Meatball Soup, Spaghetti Carbonara, Prime Rib, and Creme Brulee for dessert. After dinner, I went to the Alchemy Bar. They have new entertainers that I was able to hear in the Ocean Plaza. A definite improvement. The Breeze Band performed their Eagles Tribute set at 8:30 pm to a packed house. Almost uncomfortably crowded…the theater is better but difficult on a four-day cruise to get it scheduled. I retired soon afterward. It was a busy sea day on the Carnival Breeze.
Day Three of 2nd Cruise — Saturday --  November 20th, 2021 -- Cozumel, Mexico

Rolling seas with a few bumps as we transitioned from the Gulf of Mexico into the Caribbean Sea overnight but I slept very well. I woke as we were arriving in Cozumel, we are the only Carnival ship at Puerto Maya and the weather looks like rain. About 8:15 am I had a Breakfast Burrito from Blue Iguana and took it to the Tides Bar to eat with my Bloody Mary. Shortly afterward both friends and heavy rain arrived. It really poured for about 30+ minutes. About 10:00 am I left the ship with friends and shared a taxi into San Miguel. We established a meeting place to share a taxi back and I was off to do my thing. The first stop was Antonios Barber Shop for a haircut. He actually dropped the price of a haircut to $6 since the Peso is lower. I still pay the $100 pesos that actually is $5. What a deal. Then I stopped at the Church where they were having a wedding, it was nicely decorated. I made it to Woody’s and fortunately they had the OU vs. ISU football game. Still in 1st Quarter tied 7-7. The only TV with the game was in the Bar Section so my HQ was at the Bar. That worked well as they moved the entertainment inside where my usual table is located. Soon there was another downpour that lasted another 30+ minutes but did not interfere with the football game. It was fun as there were other Sooner fans watching, I enjoyed several Bohemia Claras and visiting with Nelly (above photo) and Pepe. The weather was now very nice as were the results of the game: OU 28 ISU 21. I think the friends enjoyed their day shopping. We took a shared taxi back ($160 pesos) to Costa Maya pier and the ship. It was an easy debark and return as I think most guests stayed on board due to the weather. I was at dinner as the Blush dining room opened, I have a good table with both old and new friends and a nice location. For dinner I ordered the Meatballs and Linguini as a starter and combined them, then a Strip Steak as an entree, and Bitter & Blanc as a dessert. My favorite menu night. After dinner, I had a cocktail at the Breeze Bar and retired early. It was a FUN day in Cozumel and on the Carnival Breeze.


Day Four of 2nd Cruise — Sunday -- November 21st, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea

Rolling seas with a few bumps as we transitioned from the Caribbean Sea back into the Gulf of Mexico overnight but I slept well. I was awake early as usual so updated this blog and reviewed the late college football scores. I went to the Tides Bar for my morning Bloody Mary’s and even had a single slice of pizza for breakfast. Beautiful weather out on deck too. Friends encouraged me to play LRC left-right-center at 11:00 am in the Red Frog Pub. I have seen it mentioned in various cruise roll calls over the years but never played. It was actually fun and a good way to meet people. We played two games and I would do it again. I did a walkabout the ship and had a beer from the Casino Bar, then a very nice Mongolian Grill lunch. Cabin time in the afternoon and a short nap. I’ve been trying to schedule a rapid antigen test for my cruise one week from today out of Miami, but some kind of glitch in Walgreens website identifying the location needed, maybe because I'm at sea or maybe just not enough speed to allow me to schedule it. So glad the nice weather has continued for the guests to get a sunny day on the outer decks. I went out on Deck 11 aft and enjoyed it myself. Very nice sunset too (photo). At 6:00 pm I went to the final dinner in the Blush Dining Room. Of course, the waiters sang the “Leaving” song...corny but still enjoyable. For dinner, I ordered the Steak&Ale Cheddar Soup, the Cobb Salad, the Strip Steak entree with an extra steak, and Baked Alaska for dessert. A very good meal. After dinner, I went to the Alchemy Bar and caught the end of the final set of the Breeze Band. Then the new solo male entertainer Robbie Litt… it was good. Final goodbyes to the Alchemy Bar team and Band members as they knew I was off for the Florida season following this cruise. It was actually sweet. I have an early debarkation time in the morning…Diamonds meet at 7:15 am so I’m retiring early. It was a FUN final sea day on the Carnival Breeze.
Debarkation — Monday --  November 22, 2021 -- Port of Galveston
Smooth seas overnight. I woke very early and had plenty of time to update this blog and pack. I went up to the Lido Marketplace early and had my first omelet in many years…it was very good. Also Bacon & potatoes so a nice final breakfast onboard the ship. I finalized my packing then went to the Diamond meet area at 7:15 am. We began to debark soon after 8:00 am and I was among the first off and the first on the EZ Cruise shuttle bus. I was off the island by 8:45 am and at the Ranch at 1:00 pm. That included a stop at Buc*ees in Waller for Fuel ($2.80 gal), Candy, & a Dr Pepper. A good debarkation and travel morning for sure.

Personal HIGHLIGHTS of the Cruises
Cozumel and Progreso Port Days
Tides Bar for Bloody Mary’s
Alchemy & Breeze Bars & Bartenders
The Breeze Rock Band
Mongolian Wok
Diamond Parties
Red Frog Pub Happy Hour

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