Posted December 18th, 2012, 08:09 PM
There are a few detailed Breeze reviews going now so I’m going to keep this one shorter. I’ll gladly answer any questions, of course.
My wife and I are fairly new cruisers. Our first cruise was in 2009 on the Valor. We loved it and have been planning to do it again but it just hasn’t worked out. Earlier this year I ran into a medical issue that required treatment over the summer. We decided to book a cruise to give us something look forward to and hopefully as a celebration. As it turned out I received good news the week before we cruised so it was indeed a celebration cruise!
After much research (my roll call mates can attest to the fact that I an a chronic researcher) we decided to book the Breeze on December 8th. We had been to St. Thomas and the BVIs before but had never visited Antigua or Nassau, and the lure of a new ship was too strong.
We had a great roll call for this cruise with a lot of active members and several of them had also booked the Imagination 4-day Western Caribbean on Dec 3rd, so we ended up booking that with them and did a back-to-almost-back. I’ll post thoughts on the Imagination cruise is a separate thread.
Anyway, the roll call group put together many activities including a two-hour cocktail party followed by a cabin crawl and poker run, a slot pull and a glow party. We had a great time with these folks and would cruise with any of them again! For anyone new to CC and planning to cruise please join your roll call! It’s a great way to get to know folks before the cruise and also to learn from each other about the ship, the ports, and just general cruising experience.
OK, On with the review…
As mentioned, we were fresh off of the Imagination so we dropped our bags at the Intercontinental and spent some time at Bayside Market looking at the shops. I bought a T-shirt to wear at our cocktail party (more on that later). We also ran into some of our new friends from the Imagination and had a great burger at Ham-bur-guesa at Bayside.
That evening we had a pre-cruise party at Bubba Gump’s at Bayside. We weren’t sure how many folks would show up but one of our friends had arranged for us to use an area of the outside patio. We were hoping to have 30 people there and we ended up with over 40! We had a great time and then headed back to the Intercontinental to get some sleep.
I woke early this morning and looked out the hotel room window to see the Breeze sitting at the dock waiting for us! It was still dark and she looked beautiful! Once it was light I could see the three other ships including the new Celebrity Reflection, another Carnival ship and an NCL ship.
Many of us received the now-common e-mail about arriving at the port later in the day, but the one for the Breeze also mentioned that sail-away would be delayed until 6pm because of port operations. We confirmed with John Heald that the mention of late arrival at the port was just an attempt to spread out the crowds, but that the sail away really wouldn’t be until 6pm. There were quite a few of us who stayed at the Intercontinental near the port and we all arrived at the terminal at about 10:45. Check in was smooth and we were given Zone 3 or Zone 4 cards. Boarding was a little later than usual, starting at about 12:30. We found seats along with others from our roll call.
There were a lot of visitors going on board for the official naming ceremony, and quite a few wedding parties. Once those were one the boarding went quickly and we were sitting in the Red Frog Pub with a Thirsty Frog Ale in out hands by about 1:00. I really want to be first in the pub for this cruise but we ended up being third. They still too our pictures and displayed them on monitors all around the pub and that picture made it easier for our roll call friends to find us. A bunch of us had matching shirts made so we were easy to spot all over the ship on the first day.
We went to check out or cabin at about 2:00 and our bags were there so we dragged them into the room and went back out to explore the ship. I also took a minute to put up our door signs.
We had setup an informal meet and greet with our roll call at the Tides Bar on the Lido Deck aft and met there at 4:00. Around 4:30 we heard the announcements for muster drill so we headed to our station, which was in the Conference Center on deck 4. The room was way too small and was extremely hot so the drill felt like it took hours. In reality it was probably only 20 minutes and everything was done in that room, no trips out on deck to the lifeboats.
After that we went back to the cabin to unpack and made it back on deck for sail away at shortly after 6. The nighttime sail away from Miami was nice and we could see the city lights including the light show on the face of the Intercontinental building. This time it is a dancing girl and she seemed to be dancing in rhythm with the music on the ship.
We had reservations for the Steakhouse at 8pm so we went back to the cabin to clean up and headed over shortly before 8. We were seated promptly and enjoyed a great meal. We did get a complementary bottle of wine. It was a choice between a Santa Carolina Merlot and a Santa Carolina Pinot Grigio (I think) and we chose the merlot. It wasn’t a great merlot, but it was drinkable and the price was right.
One of the highlights of the meal was the Grilled Portobello Mushroom starter. The mushrooms were marinated with virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar and served on a bed of tomato carpaccio. My wife loved it and mentioned that to one of the servers as we left. When we got back to the cabin later that evening we had an envelope in out mailbox with the recipe! Te rest of the meal was also excellent and out steaks were cooked and seasoned perfectly.
We finished that evening in the Piano Bar listening to the amazing Ron Pass. If you haven’t had a chance to cruise with Ron you are missing something special! He is a great entertainer and we stopped by to listen to him almost every night.
After that it was time to sleep. It had been a long day and we were beat.