The 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze debuted in 2012 as the third ship in Carnival's Dream class and one of the earliest full-blown examples of the line's newest bells and whistles. With the emphasis on high-quality casual food and drinks, as well as entertainment to suit our shortening attention spans (think musicals, game shows, and comedy acts — all offered up in segments that are less than 30 minutes), cruisers on this ship can grab their fun on the go. And while this ship serves up family fun in spades, it also caters to grown-ups: The kid-free Serenity Lounge covers two decks with comfy clamshell chairs (the kind you would only expect to find on luxury ships), hammocks, and bartenders wandering around taking cocktail orders all day long. This space offers grownups a respite from the hustle and bustle of the main pool area, where kids clamor for burgers and soft serve and music blares.
What We Love
Great Fast Food: Along with the traditional dining room scene, Carnival Breeze showcases a dazzling array of casual specialty joints, delivering everything from burritos to pizza, and hand-ground burgers (on just-baked buns) designed in partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri. Best of all, both the BlueIguana Cantina and Guy's Burger Joint have "fixin" bars, so you can top your chicken, steak, fish, or pork tacos with crema, cheese, or one of a dozen salsas, or dress your burger with everything from pickles, onions, lettuce and tomato to sautéed onions, mushrooms, or bacon. Looking for something a little healthier? The Mongolian Wok has its own fan base who flock there for the fresh, vegetable-laden creations topped with the sauces of your choice.
Awesome Water Park: Kids will make a beeline for the ship’s WaterWorks aqua park, which wows with corkscrew waterslides, a play zone with fountains and water cannons, and the ever-popular dumping bucket. Just remember: Kids must be 42 inches tall to ride the slides, so measure yours in advance to avoid disappointment.
Best Known For
Low Prices: Legions of cruisers flock to Carnival for its budget-friendly fares.
Fun-for-All-Ages Entertainment: The long lineup of entertainment, game shows, and audience-participation activities offers plenty for everyone in the family to enjoy together. A partnership with Hasbro means childhood favorites come to life on board, and a Dr. Seuss partnership results in both a "Green Eggs and Ham" brunch (featuring eerily green scrambled eggs and stacks of red velvet pancakes frosted with cream cheese to look like that famous hat) and a Seuss-a-Palooza parade with The Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2 photo ops for kids.
Plenty of Booze: With at least a dozen watering holes on board, Carnival’s party-hardy reputation remains worth noting. While many cruise ships quiet down well before midnight, this vessel generally keeps the music, drinks, and dancing going well into the wee hours.
Punchliner Comedy Club: This club offers family-friendly acts early in the evening, and naughtier adults-only routines after hours, so everyone can find a show for their gang.
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Who It's Best For
Price-Conscious Extroverts: Carnival Breeze delivers in spades for Carnival’s fan base of unpretentious, outgoing, value-seeking cruisers. The six- to nine-night sailings out of Galveston, Texas, to the Caribbean on this ship are no exception.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Small, Crowded Pools: The top deck is always wall to wall with bathing suits. Claim your deck chairs early, or expect to be out of luck, and don't be surprised to find hot tubs that are filled to capacity for most of the day.
Serenity Ain’t Always Serene: Inexplicably, the adults-only zone is adjacent to the waterslides and splash zone ... the better to hear kids’ incessant squealing. (You didn’t want to read that book anyway, right?)
The Specialty Restaurants Aren't Always So Special: We've never been as wowed by, say, the Bonsai sushi restaurant or the Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant as we are by the fabulous complimentary poolside fare.
Suzanne Rowan Kelleher is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for The Boston Globe.
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Carnival Breeze at a Glance
- Line: Carnival Cruise Line
- Class: Dream
- Number of Passengers: 3690
- Ship Size: Mega
- Launch Date: 2012