Saturday, May 14, 2022

Carnival Breeze Cruise Review - May 14 & 19, 2022


Just the Facts:
Ship:  Carnival Breeze
Sailing:  May 14-22, 2022
Captain:  Isidoro Renda    Cruise Director: Cookie
Ports: Galveston- Cozumel, Mexico (2) - Costa Maya, Mexico - Galveston

I am sailing another B2B on my favorite Carnival Ship. This is my 16th &17th cruises on the Carnival Breeze, my 99th and 100th Carnival cruises, and my 180th &181st cruises overall.  I am sailing as a solo.

Day One -- Saturday --  May 14th, 2022 -- Port of Galveston  Embarkation
The day began early on Twisted Oak Ranch. I was up early and finished packing and hit the road south at about 4:45 am as Carnival moved up arrival times an hour for all guests…so my time was moved from 10:00 am to 9:00 am.  One-stop at Love’s in Hearne, TX then straight through to EZ Cruise Parking arriving about 9:05 am. Glad I made reservations as they were full as the Vista was also on turnaround day today. I parked and walked over to Terminal Two and it was still very busy with debarkation guests. I love the look of the newly painted livery on the Breeze, I'll post a photo once we are in a port. I made my way to the entry and surprisingly they were boarding at that earlier hour. I was through Security and Check-in and seated at about 9:45 in the waiting area with only a short wait for a 10:15 am boarding. I rolled my bags with me as I always do and dropped them at my cabin by 10:25 am. Relatively easy process. Sweet. I then went to have a very nice early Mongolian Wok Stir-fry lunch by 10:30am. Sweet again. (photo right) Muster drill was next that took all of 10 minutes at Muster Station B-4 in the Blush Dining Room. I then sat out on deck 11 until cabins were officially opened…then set up my cabin. I did have a nice nap after they stopped with the muster announcements from 4:00-to 6:00. I had cabin time then went up to the Lido Marketplace for dinner. I had the Breaded Shrimp and a salad… a very nice dinner. Early evenings are nice on deck, I enjoyed the sunset and the view of the Carnival Vista following us.  I went to the Casino and played my $25 free play, didn't do that well but came back with $5 in real chips...I'll try again next cruise. I went to the Alchemy Bar  about 8:30 and met old and new friends and enjoyed seeing the Alchemy team. Anca and Ivana are two of my very favorites and met Alexandra from Serbia. Ivana prepared a very nice cocktail for me with Absinthe. It was very good. The new to me Breeze Rock Band performed tonight and was very good. It will be hard to duplicate the previous one but we’ll see. I retired to the cabin after their first set and my first cocktail. Some work to do before sleep. It was a long but very sweet embarkation day on the Carnival Breeze.
Day Two -- Sunday --  May 15th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea  
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I was up early. I don’t have a balcony this cruise so I keep the TV on the forward ship camera so I know when the sun rises…the music is nice too. The internet is really slow this morning, I hope it improves. I’m on my only two meals a day plan so no breakfast this morning. I did some work online and updated this blog. At 11:00 am I went to the Diamond Party in the Limelight Lounge. I saw several good friends there including some kin, Joe & Ola McDonald, it’s always good to catch up with them, I think Joe is on board for 3+ months this stretch. The two Bloody Mary’s held me until lunchtime. About noon I went to Cucina de Capitano and had a small Caesar Salad, Bread, and two nice Pasta Bowls. I like the Tomato Basil Sauce with Penne and the Bolognese with Linguini. It was very good. I enjoyed a nice walkabout on the outer decks in the perfect weather then retired to the cabin for a nice long nap. No MDR for me on this elegant night, I went to the Lido Marketplace for some Prime Rib from the Carving Station. Then I enjoyed the aft deck to watch the wake and the nice sunset. Interesting people-watching too. I then went to Alchemy Bar to see the new Breeze Rock Band in Ocean Plaza (photo). I was able to get a seat with a friend. I had the same absinthe cocktail that Ivana prepared the previous night. It was a fun evening, the band play 80s Music including one of my favorite Torch Songs: At Last, the classic Etta James tune. I saw so many friends including my Bosque County neighbor, a Tarrant County friend I have known for 40 years, Cruise Director Cookie, and several others. Since I was fresh from a nice afternoon nap I stayed through 2+ sets of the Band and another cocktail, but I wanted to go to the outer deck to see the eclipse of the full moon. The eclipse was pretty spectacular at sea, probably looked good from Bosque County too. I then retired to the cabin, it was a FUN and interesting day on the Carnival Breeze.  

Day Three -- Monday --  May 16th, 2022 -- Costa Maya Mexico 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I went to the Lido Marketplace and the Omelet Station as it’s just above my aft cabin location and easy at an early hour. I had a nice Western Omelet with a side of bacon, potatoes, and mixed fruits. It wasn’t special, but adequate. We don’t arrive at port until 1:00 pm so I returned to the cabin for some internet time as the WiFi is much improved. Inspired by the torch music last night I played my personal music on the travel JBL while working. I went up on deck to watch our arrival at the port, the Carnival Ecstasy was docked as well and also had a late arrival. It’s already in the mid 90° degree range so I’m not planning on getting off today. I had a nice stir-fry from the Mongolian Wok before it closed at 2:00 pm then went to the cabin for a movie, then a very nice nap, I have been getting some rest so far this cruise, the interior cabin helps. I went up on deck 10 aft for our late sail away, it was after sunset by the time we sailed so an evening sail away was different. I had discovered an interesting cocktail recipe when confirming the spelling of absinthe on google for this blog, so I saved it to my phone and took it to the Alchemy Bar tonight. It had two of my favorite ingredients: Absinthe and Elderflower, so I was anxious to try it. The beautiful Alchemist Anca recognized the potential, especially for me, and did a great job. Just basic ingredients: Absinthe, Elderflower, Pineapple juice, Lemon & Lime. Sweeter than most Absinthe drinks and the pineapple neutralized that anise taste in the Absinthe. It was great, but as with all Absinthe drinks best in moderation. Perfect for an alternative or to alternate. The Breeze Band was off tonight but the soloist Scott Lucille on the Ocean Plaza stage was good. After visiting with friends I retired to the cabin and ordered a Room Service BLT sandwich. They have made a change now using Turkey Bacon, but they are still one of the best food items on the ship. I had not had one in a while so I enjoined them. I watched a late TCM movie before sleep. It was a nice relaxing day on the Carnival Breeze.

Day Four -- Tuesday --  May 17th, 2022 -- Cozumel Mexico 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I was up at about 6:30 am and updated this blog while waiting to arrive at Puerto Costa Maya in Cozumel. About 8:30 I began my journey to Del Mar Latino the beach club located about a half-mile (total) walk south from the ship. I like the ease of getting there with no taxi involved. I started with diet Coca-Cola then changed to Mojitos after my early lunch or breakfast for me. The Guacamole with Pico de Gallo is good as are the quesadillas. I did take a nice swim in the water as well as several times in the pool, it was refreshing in the 90°+ weather. The Coconut Shrimp was excellent and I had coconut ice creme as well. The mojitos were plentiful and good. The place cleared by 2:30 pm so I had it to myself for an hour. Sweet. I had my share of Mojitos and even took a roadie for my walk back to Puerto Maya Pier. Had my photo taken at the Cozumel sign across from the Park Royal Resort. Terry & I stayed there 40 years ago on our first trip together to Cozumel… which was well before cruise ships called there…so different now. I wanted to go to Cozumel because of the 1980s movie Against All Odds and we stayed about two weeks, we loved the island, it was a more intimate and remote place then. I was back on the ship by 4:00 pm. and cleaned up and recall sailaway, but I put my head on the pillow and was soon asleep. I woke in time to get dinner from the Marketplace Buffet, I had a little sample of several items (I think I was asleep and didn’t know what I wanted): Penne Pasta Bolognese, BBQ Pork SpareRibs, Cinnamon Pumpkin Cheese Pie, Crusted Chicken, Coleslaw, Baked Potato, and a small salad. I took watermelon and cookies back to the cabin. I updated this blog and communicated with the Ranch to check our moving status before listening to music and retiring. It was a fun and nostalgic port day in Cozumel.
Day Five -- Wednesday --  May 18th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea  
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well and it’s a beautiful clear day. The good news for today is that vaccinated B2B cruisers no longer have to have an antigen rapid before their second cruise. They did a good job with it on this ship in the past, but no test on this final sea day is better. I had a big proper breakfast this morning, I went to the Sea Day Brunch. I ordered: Bloody Mary, Hot Milk, Tomato Juice, Steak & Eggs, Hash Browns, Bacon, and French Toast. All very good. I went to Pixels to get my gift, another drink koozie, and a pin. A lot of guests are out and about enjoying their last day onboard the ship. At 11:30 they had the Platinum and Diamond Party in the Ovation Theater, there were a lot of guests, but not that many Diamonds. I was actually on stage with the other McDonalds: Joe & Ola (photo right). Between the three of us, there are 4000 days sailed. The vast majority by the two of them. I enjoyed a good Bloody Mary (not from the pre-made on the tray) and a Pilsner Urquell. I have grown from quantity to quality on my complimentary drinks. Afterward, I just enjoyed the ship and visited with friends. About 3:00 pm I had my first Guy’s Burgers of the cruise. Always a popular place even at an unusual time. It was then Cabin time for a wee nap. I went up to the Lido Marketplace at about 7:30 for a light dinner with a small Carrot Cake and Watermelon for sweets. I sat on the aft deck through sundown and after dark just enjoying the aft view and sea. We are already well within the large Oil Rigs off the Texas coast. I retired early to the cabin, but while most guests are packing I have another four days. It was a restful sea day at sea on the Carnival Breeze.
 Day One of 2nd Cruise — Thursday --  May 19th, 2022 -- Port of Galveston 
Center of Tuesdays Cozumel photo
This is the beginning of the 2nd leg of B2B. They are expecting over 3700+ for this 4-day cruise, a full ship at double capacity. Smooth seas overnight and I was up by 6:00 am as we were sailing into Galveston. I have the same cabin so no moving this morning. I went very early to the MDR for breakfast: Eggs Benedict, Avocado Toast, Bacon, Hash-brown Potatoes, Tomato Juice & hot Milk. The B2B instructions said to be in Sapphire MDR at 7:45, obviously too early, just finishing breakfast, but I did go down there about 8:45 still too early but I knew friends would be there and I’d have WiFi. I checked in with the Ranch, visited, had the new photo taken, received new S&S cards, then finally went through customs at about 10:15 am. They did the Champagne and Photo so things are getting normalized. We had the ship for 45 minutes as they didn’t board guests until 11:00 am. I went to the Mongolian Grill by 11:00 am for a fantastic Stir-fry bowl. Next was the Muster/safety drill in the Blush MDR on deck 3…quick and easy. Embarkation day check-list is complete. I went up on deck 11 to watch sail away, it is a hot 92° day, but a breeze on the Starboard side. The new Royal Caribbean Terminal is coming along nicely…the exterior seems to be near complete. I went to the Alchemy Bar for a few cocktails and saw friends from past cruises. Always fun at Alchemy. I went to the Sapphire Dining Room for dinner tonight. I ordered the Mixed Green Salad, Roasted Tomato Soup, Nonna’s Dish, and the Braised Beef Brisket with a Fruit plate for dessert. It was average at the best, The Nonna’s Dish was the Cucina del Capitano item, it sounded wonderful on the menu, but it was nothing like what was served at Cucina. It was the worst item served, it wasn’t as good as the Penne Pasta they always serve at the Lido Marketplace. I retired to the cabin by 9:00 pm for a movie and rest. It was a very nice embarkation day on the Carnival Breeze.
Day Two of 2nd Cruise — Friday --  May 20th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea  
Rolling seas overnight, much more movement than any day last cruise, and I slept very well. I was up early as usual and updated this blog and use the WiFi before it gets busy and slowed down. I went to the Blue Iguana before it closed at 10:00 for my favorite breakfast on Carnival: Huevos Rancheros with two fresh fried eggs, Pico de Gallo, Salsa, Arepas, and Watermelon (photo). It was very good and my first time eating there on this cruise. I sat on deck 11 enjoying the weather and activity on the pool deck until the DJ started…I guess I’m getting old as the music was too loud for me…of course, I was directly in front of the speakers being on deck 11 and the Seaview Theater system. I went on a walkabout this afternoon and also picked up my $25 Free-play at the casino. I saved it until I was on deck 4 and the non-smoking casino…I had much better luck today…I came away with $75 in real chips so I’m up $80 for the two cruises. I’ll carry it on to the next cruise as I did last year when I started on the Breeze. I also visited Cherry on Top and bought some assorted candy. I watched two movies and then watched the OU Softball team's first game in the NCAA Championship. During this time I decide to order Room Service and enjoyed a Turkey Sandwich and a Turkey BLT. They were excellent. A walkabout before sundown as usual But I let time getaway and didn’t go by Alchemy or eat so I ended up ordering a Ruben Sandwich from room service since I enjoyed the other two so much, the same girl delivered it too…I guess I seemed a bit of a hermit to her this afternoon and evening. The Ruben was as good as the earlier sandwiches. It was a very restful sea day on the Carnival Breeze.

Day Three of 2nd Cruise — Saturday -- May 21st, 2022 -- 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 about 6:00ish as usual and about 9:00ish we were arriving in Cozumel…the Ecstasy docked just before us at Puerto Maya pier. The weather looks like rain today. About 9:45 am I had breakfast in the Lido Marketplace while the early guests were leaving the ship. About 10:15 am I left the ship and met with friends at the pier and we shared a taxi into San Miguel. We visited at Woody’s Bar and Grill until noon and then I was off to do my thing. The first stop was the Zensi Spa for a Pedicure then Antonio's Barber Shop for a haircut. When I got back to Woody’s I enjoyed my Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, Chips, and several Bohemia Clara Cerveza. I was able to follow the OU Sooners softball playoff game online and since the Mardi Gras Festival was moved from February to this weekend I watched the Youth parade (photo) in the afternoon. Wish I could see the big parade tonight, but that will have to be another time. I took a taxi back (160 pesos) to Puerto Maya pier and the ship at about 4:00 pm. After a clean-up, I went early to the Alchemy Bar and visited with friends. I brought some black licorice that Anca used in preparing my Absinthe cocktail, it was very good. I went to the Lido Marketplace for another of a ‘little of this and a little of that’ dinner. I did take cookies back to the cabin for late-night munchies. Very few guests out and about this evening, probably a combination of Cozumel activities and the high seas ever since we departed. Another movie and cookies before sleep. It was a great port day in Cozumel.
Day Four of 2nd Cruise — Sunday -- May 22nd, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Rolling seas with a few bumps as we transitioned from the Caribbean Sea back into the Gulf of Mexico and experienced a thunderstorm overnight…but I slept well. I was awake early as usual so updated this blog and reviewed the late college softball scores. OU will play today for Regional Championship. About 10:00 am I went to the Sea Day Brunch in the Blush Dining Room I had a great share table with two nice couples, one of which are big Sooner softball fans. Breakfast was great, I ordered: Hot Milk, Tomato Juice, Steak & Eggs, Hash Browns, Bacon, Ham, and French Toast. Service by I Made and Ary was excellent. It’s very cloudy weather so most guests are indoors this morning. Difficult to stream the softball game in the deteriorating weather but I was able to follow it play-by-play on Game Tracker. Oklahoma 20 TX A&M 0 so OU is in the Super Regional (Sweet 16) tournament. I went to the Alchemy Bar and it was packed early in the day…the Red Frog had more guests than an embark Happy Hour…basically, all indoor venues are busy. Kudos to the Entertainment Director for starting entertainment as early as he could. I have always thought that they should have sea day entertainment, Trivia Games just doesn’t cover it. The numerous Soloists or even a Comedian doing a matinĂ©e would be wonderful…IMHO. I was lucky to get a Guy’s Burger as it was closing and I helped myself to a plate of cookies to take back to the cabin. I’m doing movie night again and resting up for the work I will be starting tomorrow afternoon packing up for the move to Florida. My meeting time for debarkation in the morning is 7:15 am. I updated this blog and as promised a photo of the new livery on the Breeze taken by my friend in Cozumel on Saturday...looks good. It was a rainy and cloudy final day on the Carnival Breeze.

Debarkation — Monday -- May 23rd, 2022 -- Port of Galveston

Smooth seas overnight. I woke early and had plenty of time to update this blog and finish packing. I went up to the Lido Marketplace early and had a nice omelet, bacon, ham, and grapefruit…it was very good. Nice final breakfast onboard the ship. I then finalized my packing and went to the Diamond meet area at 7:15 am. We began to debark by 8:00 am and I was among the first off the ship. I did the easy walk to the EZ Cruise parking lot. I was off the island by 8:30 am and at the Ranch at 12:30 pm. That included a stop at Love’s in Hearne for Fuel ($4.25 gal) and Bush’s Chicken in Clifton. A good debarkation and travel morning for sure.

Personal HIGHLIGHTS of the Cruises
Both Cozumel Port Days
Alchemy Bar and the lovely & talented Alchenists
Mongolian Wok
Room Service Food
Diamond Party