July 2014 - Carnival Breeze to Caribbean - Southern
I took this cruise with my mom and my 9 year old son. I've cruised several times and I normally choose Royal Caribbean, Princess or Norwegian but the itinerary on this cruise attracted me to this cruise. I was not disappointed at all with any of the ports on this boat, although I was unable to get off the boat in La Romana because of an injury I sustained the day before. On that note, I was extremely disappointed in the service and bedside manner of both the nurse and doctor who attended to me. Both acted as though I was inconveniencing them because it was 7pm and the medical office closes at 6pm even though I agreed to the $150 afterhours charge. I was even charged for a 2nd x-ray, even though the doctor said it was overexposed and unreadable. My son had to go to the medical center on a Royal ship a few years ago for an asthma related issue and we were treated drastically different, even though we had to call the doctor in in the middle of the night.
This was my first tme to try the "My Time" dining, which I will never do again. The idea of eating in the dining room when you want is great, however, how it actually plays out, is not. The service is drastically different than what you get with a set time dining. There is no waiting whatsoever with a set time and having the same waitstaff makes a huge difference. On one night of the cruise, we received a buzzer to be called when our table was ready and waited an additional 30 minutes (which is in addition to the 20+ minutes we waited in line to get a buzzer). Then they called EVERYONE with a buzzer at the same time, so there was mass chaos and another wait of 15-20 minutes before we were seated. The waitstaff for My Time Dining throughout our entire cruise were not personable at all, which was totally different than what I'm used to when cruising. The food in the dining room was okay, but probably the worst I've had on all the cruises I've taken. There was a pretty good selection of food for breakfast and lunch at the buffet, you just have to pay attention to the times it's open.
I will say our stateroom attendant was outstanding. He always had a smile on his face and greeted each of us by name when he saw us. Had it not been for his top notch service, I would have been completely disappointed in the cruise.
My 9 year old son really enjoyed the Splash Zone, Sports Deck and the Ropes Course. He also seemed to enjoy the kids club.
I was also a bit disappointed to learn that Carnival doesn't have any option to create a picture book from your pictures like Royal and Norwegian.
In Grand Turk, there is no need to purchase an excursion if you are just wanting to go to the beach, shop, go to a pool or bar, as all of those things are at the end of the pier when you get off the boat. All of the excursions we wanted to take in Curacao and Aruba were sold out so we took our chances with the tours they offer on the pier, which I had never done before. I was shocked at how good a $20pp tour was in both locations! Our tours went to all the same places we wanted to go on the tour offered by Carnival for less than half the price! Curacao was so clean & nice and for the most part, Aruba was as well. Grand Turk was nice and it was great that everything was so close to the boat.
Overall, I rated this cruise a 3 because of the fantastic service we received from our stateroom attendant and because Carnival is the only cruiseline to offer this itinerary and it's great. The service we received in the dining room and especially from the medical staff, certainly left something to be desired. I'd love to go to these ports again, just not on the Carnival Breeze.