July 2015 - 6 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Breeze
Missing that personal touch
I love cruising! This being our fourth (third with Carnival) I've come to expect certain things from Carnival that the Breeze just did not deliver. At first i thought am i expecting too much? Am i being a cruise snob lol... but then while chatting with another frequent cruiser in the laundry room I found that we shared the same issues. I'll break down my review into the following categories: Staff/Service, Food and Entertainment/Activities,
STAFF & SERVICE: One of the most memorable things about the cruise for me is the staff. On past cruises, not a day went by where we didn't have a staff member ask us how we were doing or enjoying the day/ excursions etc. On this cruise it was more of a rare occurrence. Aside from our steward and dining room waiter who took the time to chat with us, everyone else seemed to busy with their daily routine to even look up and say good morning. I really missed that personal touch. If you order a drink by the pool be prepared to wait at least half an hour or more. There are times when we thought they had just forgotten to come back because it took so long. They have also changed a policy that really didn't make much sense in my mind. They no longer deliver the liquor purchased onboard or at port to your room the last night. Now you have to wake up super early the day of disembarkation and go pick it up in one of the restaurants if purchased at port or at the liquor store if purchased onboard. I don't know who in corporate thought this was a great idea. Where are you supposed to put this alcohol? Everyone is already packed as you are getting ready to get off the boat. If you chose to have your luggage taken off the ship by Carnival all of your check in bags are waiting outside for you. It just makes more sense to give people their liquor the night of as they used to so that they can properly pack it. If you have a flight right after disembarkation as many do... you should not have to open up luggage outside in the street to accommodate your purchases.
FOOD: This was my biggest disappointment. I completely understand that they need to cater to masses and so i never judge based on seasoning/flavors of the food. My complaint was with the actual availability of the different places. There is an illusion of a lot of variety and dining options but when you factor in the operating times of the places you were pretty much limited to Guy's burger Joint, Pizza and the Deli. Why? Because the other places (The hot dog cart, Blue Iguana Cantina, Cucina del Capitano (the free pasta not paid dinner) and Fat Jimmy's BBQ had such restricting operating hours that you had to plan them into your schedule or you would miss them. For example the BBQ place was only open from 12:30 - 3pm. On port days this means you would completely miss this place unless you chose not to get off the boat. On a sea days if you have a late breakfast this place would not be an option either. I literally had to watch the clock and make a plan to experience this place. Most of the included restaurants had this same time restriction. You want free pasta? Ok but only between 12:00p and 2p... You want a taco sure... 12:30p to 4:00p. It was really annoying. Guy's burger joint was open the longest from about 11-6 and was our default place to eat. We had so many burgers and fries that i don't want to see another for at least a month! There also seems to be more and more additional fee places than free.
Entertainment/Activities: This is also an illusion. When you look at the daily itinerary it seems like there was just so much to do! However upon close inspection Its filled with a bunch of fluff and not real activities. I love shopping but I don't consider a watch sale or t-shirt sale an activity. Gone was also the fun competitions where carnival divides the cruisers into teams and all the competitions onboard give your team points. This may seem cheesy to some but I'm competitive and so this was an incentive to participate in more of the onboard activities just so that my team would win. On the positive side some of stuff was really nice. The movies were a nice touch on this ship. They had blockbusters like Avengers Age of Ultron showing which was nice to see on a big screen. The waterworks is a definite hit with the kids. We traveled with four ranging from 2-12 and they couldn't get enough of the slides, water hoses, big water bucket and overall splashing in this area. It was also great that activities such as mini-golf were available 24 hrs.
Overall, my thought is perhaps the boat was just too big and they had to sacrifice some of the quality and personal touch. I may consider cruising with Carnival again but definitely not on the Breeze.