Overall it was a great vacation. We enjoyed the spa (we got the pass), the water slides and splash area, as well as the overall music and atmosphere of the ship. There seemed to be lots of college age kids and young adults on this cruise which could be a function of timing (right before school starts after winter break) or the port of Galveston's location (there are several college campuses within 100 miles of the port). There is plenty to do throughout the day if you are adventurous and willing to get involved, but there is also lots of opportunity to enjoy the sound of the ocean and sunshine in peace and quiet if that is your cup of tea. The Breeze is a great ship and Carnival runs a good program.
5 out of 5
We had an appointment, however we showed up to the port about 45 minutes early. There was a line for "early/late" arrivals which only took about 20 minutes to go through. I doubt it would have been much faster if we had waited for our appointment. You can't get to your room any sooner than 1:30 PM regardless of what time you show up/get on the boat / pay for the Faster to the Fun process. We waited in the lobby of the ship, had a couple drinks, grabbed lunch on the Lido deck, and our rooms we ready before we were. Very easy process, smooth, and plenty to do on the boat prior to rooms being available.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
The food was good, but not as we expected. We have been on a few cruises in the past with Carnival and we saw a notable difference in the quality and flavor of the food, especially in the buffets. The main dining room had some good food, but not as much variety as we have come to expect. The service was really lacking, as we often had to track down a waiter to place a drink order, and on one occasion I was told my waiter was "over it" and disappeared for 45 minutes or more.
5 out of 5
The sushi served at Bonsai didn't have the most elaborate or variety of rolls available, however it was very reasonable in price and the rolls they did have were phenomenal. We tried just about everything on the menu and were not disappointed once.
4 out of 5
All the on board activities were good, but nothing to brag about. The pools were usually fairly crowded when the weather was nice, but cold and empty when the wind picked up or the clouds roll in. The sports deck is a neat place to hang out, especially the mini golf course.
Carnival Water Works
5 out of 5
Awesome place to let the kids play and enjoy the sunshine. The two water slides were both fast and exciting. The "orange" slide can be a bit aggressive when it dumps you into the "bowl" however it doesn't take away from the fun. They are fairly strict with the height requirement.
3 out of 5
The stage shows were about as good as most junior college theater programs put on. They rely heavily on technology rather than actual production quality. The comedians were good, however some of the material was very racially driven, especially in the later show. If you are easily offended by stereotypes and innuendos then I would stay clear of those. The music throughout the ship was awesome, especially the string trio in the lobby. They played just about every genre and style of music, even some current hits using only strings.
4 out of 5
We have a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old. Our older child loved the camp, and wanted to go all the time. He said they did tons of activities, danced, sang, and played lots of games. He liked playing with other kids his own age, and it gave us time to explore the ship without him getting "bored". Our younger child was only able to go during specific times (for an hourly fee) but she seemed to like it as well. It can get busy during popular drop off times, but having a few hours without kids while on the ship was well worth it. They provide a cell phone to reach out in an emergency, but it only works on the ship so don't plan on leaving the kids at camp to go on excursions during port days.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
The staff seemed to be less attentive than past cruises. Our room wasn't clean when we first got in, and there were a few times during the cruise that it was obvious the steward just "picked up". The bartenders were awesome throughout the ship, especially the Alchemy bar. The dinning room staff was hit and miss depending on where we were seated. We used the "our time dinning" which meant we had different waiters each night. I have heard the a specified dining time gives you the same wait staff and the ability to build a report with them throughout the cruise.
4 out of 5
Overall the ship is laid out nicely. There are a few "pinch points" where it can get crowded, especially on sea days and during adverse weather. The one gripe I have is that on deck 5 there is no way to get from one end of the boat to the other without going through the smokey casino, or braving the outside weather, which is often impossible because the Lanai doors are usually closed because there is too much wind.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Our cabin was perfect for our family size. We started out with just the pullout bed for our 4 year old and a crib for our almost 2 year old. This made the cabin feel cramped and didn't leave much space to move around. Luckily, our cabin had a bunk bed, so we requested the crib be removed and the bunk bed be set up. Our oldest slept up top, which he was excited about, and our youngest slept on the bottom. This was by far the best choice, and left a lot of space for the kids to play and move around. The cleanliness could have been better, but it wasn't bad. There is plenty of space to store luggage under the bed if you put your clothes in the wardrobes and drawers. The bathroom has some shelves but they are not very big. We had a hanging travel organizer for our toiletries that we hung from the door and it worked perfectly.
When you are eating from the Lido Buffet (any meal) the lines toward the back of the ship tend to be much shorter. They have all the same stuff, but a better layout, and you avoid the crowds from the main pool/elevators. There is also a "deli" located back there that is open almost any time.
We opted to get a cab ($30 USD that held 9 people) and go to a "resort" beach. We were able to eat, drink, ride jet skis, and play in the water from our own shaded beach chairs and table from a lot less than the carnival excursion would have charged us. A lot of fun!!
If you do not book an excursion at this port don't even bother getting off the ship. There are literally two restaurants and about a dozen shops to buy overpriced souvenirs within 2 block section that you cant leave without a tour guide. Book an excursion or stay on the boat and enjoy the peace a quiet.
We rented two cars and hired a tour guide for about $100 USD. The guide took us to a zip line adventure park that also had a "monkey experience". We zip lined and got up play with monkeys, a sloth, and some other animals for about $30 USD per person. We also went to a resort beach and swam in the crystal clear water and drank for about $20 USD per person. The guide had us top at a local restaurant to try the local food which was excellent. Again, much cheaper than what carnival charges, but a great experience.
5 out of 5
The process was very smooth. We were given numbered tags to place on our bags and leave outside our rooms the night before. You are asked to leave your room by around 8:30 AM the morning you leave, but there are several places to relax, eat breakfast, or watch TV while you wait. They call people by number to get off the ship. We were out of the boat, through customs, and on our way to the airport by 11:00 AM.
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