ABOARD THE CARNIVAL BREEZE – Snow. Sleet. Ice. Grey skies. Coat-huddling cold. Enough already.
To escape the winter blahs, my daughter Kelly and I took a flight from Indianapolis to Miami for the perfect antidote – the new Carnival Breeze.
As soon as we boarded the ship, we could see that it certainly lives up to its name. The Breeze is light and airy. The pastel-colored décor with make-believe palm trees, beach umbrellas, giant turtle images and driftwood signs conjures up a pleasant tropical vibe.
Older Carnival ships used to have a slightly over-the-top Vegas feel. For decades, the ships were designed by Joe Farcus. You can still see the hand of Joe Farcus in two Breeze venues – the Winners Luck Casino and Ovation Theater. The rest of the Breeze, designed by Hamburg-based Partner Design, seems more contemporary, comfy and ready for a Caribbean cruise. I like it.
Glass elevators glide up and down the large atrium that soars more than 12 decks and has a faux blue sky with fluffy white clouds painted on the ceiling. A sleek spiral staircase is sure to be a favorite photo spot.
Pendants that look like skinny balloons float high above the atrium floor. I imagine the “balloons” have some kind of fancy design name but to me they evoke happy childhood memories of warm summer days and playing outside long after twilight has spread across the neighborhood.
Setting sail in June 2102, the Carnival Breeze can accommodate 4,891 passengers and 1,386 onboard crewmembers. Our cruise has 4,196 passengers and 1,300 onboard crewmembers, according to cruise director Butch Begovich.
Our lovely verandah cabin has creamy yellow walls, light built-in cabinetry, white-on-white bedding with a soothing blue and yellow strip of fabric across the foot of the bed, plus the same blue and yellow for curtains and the sofa, along with blue carpet, cushions and a splashy blue-green abstract painting on the wall.
Two bedside tables have storage as does a three-closeted bureau and the vanity with dresser drawers. An ottoman-style seat can be pushed into the vanity to be out of the way or pulled out for use.
A flat-screen interactive TV lets let us watch major channels when satellite reception is good as well as ship programs and movies. We also can check our bill and order room service on the TV which swivels for easier viewing.
Other in-cabin amenities include a phone, hair dryer (hidden in a vanity drawer), robes, safe and mini-fridge stocked with drinks you don’t want to buy. The cabin steward will empty it if you like so you can store your own stuff in there.
The bathroom is larger than on some cruise lines with a good-sized shower, pullout clothesline for wet swimming suits, and shower dispensers for shampoo and body soap. Be aware that the Breeze does not furnish hair conditioner or body lotion (not even in the Cloud 9 Spa)
It does, however, have plastic amenity baskets filled with an odd assortment of toiletries and other free samples in each cabin. On our cruise, the basket on the bathroom counter has nasal breathing strips, toothpaste, mini bottles of shampoo and candy bars – one sugar free and one regular.
Our balcony has two chairs and a small table. It will be one of my favorite places on the ship, I am sure.
A new touch on the Breeze is a key card-activated electricity system. A slot inside the cabin door is where you put your key card to turn on the electricity. “It’s to save on electricity,” explains crewmember Zsolt in the guest services office. “The lights and TV aren’t on if you aren’t in the cabin and don’t have your key in that slot.”
The key-card system is also on the Carnival Magic and will be on the new Carnival Sunshine. Another benefit, Kelly and I discovered, is that it’s a handy way to know where your key card is when you get ready to leave the cabin.
That’s about it for today. Kelly and I are heading to dinner and then to a show in the Ovation Theater. Will let you know what else I discover about the ship. So far, I’m quite happy to leave winter behind and sail away to sunny isles on the balmy Breeze.
Photos and video by Jackie Sheckler Finch