ABOARD THE CARNIVAL BREEZE – Our last day at sea. Seems like a good time to snuggle up in the ship’s library, browse through a guidebook for future trip ideas and sip a Hemingway’s Papa Doble.
Surprised? The Carnival Breeze does indeed have a bar in the library, along with a first for Carnival Cruise Lines – card-key operated wine dispensers. Makes sense to me.
“Instead of buying a whole bottle of wine that you don’t know and aren’t sure you like, you can come in here and sample it,” says bartender Neichulu from India. “That way you aren’t spending a lot of money to buy something that you might not like.”
Great idea. Neichulu showed me how I could hold a wine glass under one of the wine dispensers, insert my cabin key and get a taste for $3.75, $7.50 or $11 for two-, four- and six-ounce pours.
Some of the red and white choices available today are a Batasiolo Barolo from Italy, Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir from Oregon, Yangarra Shiraz from Australia, and a Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon from California.
“People really like getting to taste the wine like this,” Neichulu says. “You can find what you like and buy a bottle to take it to the dining room. “
Each bottle of wine is stored at the perfect temperature guaranteeing freshness. The wine dispensers have handy little cards above the dispensers – a “library card” to take with you so you can remember which wine you liked and which you didn’t
The Library Bar also offers specialty cocktails such as the Hemingway’s Papa Doble – Bacardi rum, grapefruit juice, maraschino liqueur and fresh lime juice; the Scarlet Letter – Stoli Citrus Vodka, pomegranate liqueur, agave nectar and fresh lime juice; the Black Pearl – Hennessey Black Cognac, blackberry brandy and lemonade; and the Sunset Serenity – Bacardi Limon Rum, Malibu, orange and pineapple juices, and grenadine.
Of course the library also has books, magazines and games. It is convenient for a handy before or after dinner drink. Since debuting on the Carnival Breeze, the Library Bar has proven so popular that the new Carnival Sunshine will have a similar venue.
Before the cruise ends, I’d also like to talk about the Carnival Breeze new shows. Some like them. Some don’t. They are definitely different. Quite flashy and dashy, the live musical shows in the Ovation Theater feature eight performers – four men and four women.
Live shows on some ships have a couple of main singers and the rest are dancers. “On here, all of our eight performers all sing and all dance,” says Breeze Cruise Director Butch Begovich. “The shows use edgy modern technology.”
Instead of changing elaborate sets on the stage, the Playlist Productions use special effects and high-tech LED staging. In a couple of the shows, the stage is extended into the audience for a more up-close and personal view.
Each of the four shows on the Carnival Breeze explores a different musical genre. “Divas” features such popular one-name female artists as Barbra, Beyonce, Celine, Cher, Madonna and Whitney.
“Latin Nights” salutes Latin culture through the fusion music of Gloria Estefan, Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, Santana and Shikara. “Motor City” celebrates the R&B Motown sound of the 1960s and ‘70s with hits from the Commodores, Lionel Richie, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and Steve Wonder. “The Brits!” is a tribute to the British invasion by The Beatles, The Who, Herman’s Hermits and Elton John.
“My favorite,” says 14 year-old Sean Mitchell, “was the Brits. I liked the dancing and all the animation.”
For sure, these performers are lean machines and they really can dance. The action is fast-paced and the huge screens behind the performers make it seem as though the cast is much larger.
“I think they are probably appealing to younger people,” says Margaret Allen. “I liked the old shows better but I do like the game shows. Butch is so funny.”
Butch, of course, is the Breeze cruise director and he really is in his element on these game shows. He is intelligent, articulate and hilarious – all the skills for a top-notch emcee. These shows consists of several larger-than-life Hasbro games like Sorry!, Operation and Monopoly. Butch chooses children and adults to participate in the games, as the audience cheers on the contestants.
The shows are being extended to all Carnival Cruise Lines ships.
So soon, our cruise is over. It has been fantastic, a welcome escape from the Indiana winter. I’ve heard that it is snowing again at home. Would like to stay on the dream world of the Breeze a little longer but real life is calling. Real life is pretty special itself. Thanks for coming along for the ride. Hope to travel with you again soon.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch