LittleMissMagic's 2014 8-Day Carnival BREEZE S.Caribbean Cruise - A Photo Review!

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#1
Los Angeles, CA
3,176 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Hello, Cruise Critics! Welcome to my 2014 Spring Break Cruise trip report!

I’m Victoria, a fourth year (final semester!) architecture major and travel and tourism minor at Clemson University. In addition to architecture, I enjoy photography, traveling, and sharing my experience with others. This is my seventh photo review on Cruise Critic – you can find links to my other photo reviews in my signature below. And if you enjoy my review, you can read more travel writings on my travel blog, victoriaonvacation.blogspot.com or keep up with me on Facebook.



I feel the need to start every cruise review with a little ‘disclaimer.’ This review will be told in a journalistic style with lots of photos. With the exception of this first post, I don't expect there to be too many posts with only paragraphs and paragraphs of text – I rely greatly on photos to tell the story. I also don’t take myself too seriously, and you shouldn't either. There will be a lot of fun-poking and maybe a little sarcasm, and you’re all invited to join in on the fun! I encourage you to post comments to share your thoughts and experiences, or just tell me who you are!

My Traveling Party

Well, I guess this time it's just a travel companion...

My boyfriend, Max, is a civil engineering major at Clemson University, and you might recognize him from my Norwegian Epic Western Mediterranean review on Cruise Critic. This was his second cruise and his first Caribbean cruise. Max finds joy in the simplest things in life and is eager to share his enthusiasm with others. That being said, he's very fun to travel with because has an opinion about the smallest of details and is really good at pinpointing exactly what he likes and what he wishes was different. I think his observations will add a lot of value to this cruise review!

If you're wondering about my sister, Rachel, don't worry! She went on a cruise of her own with her friend and my mother on the Norwegian Dawn and had a fabulous time. You'll see more of her (and Max) on our Disney Fantasy cruise in May!

Choosing the Cruise

I had many different ideas of what I wanted to do for my final spring break. My first thought was Vegas because Max has really expressed an interest in going and accommodations are so affordable. However, after a bit of research and calculations (not to mention experience from previous trips), I realized that a week in Vegas was going to cost us much more in entertainment, and we weren't going to Vegas to sit by the pool all day. By the time I added in airfare and cabs, it was really starting to push our budget.

I started looking into cruises because it was freezing in South Carolina (We had two different weeks during which we had snow in Clemson!) and I wanted a tropical escape. Norwegian had great prices - the Epic was starting at just under $400pp for an inside stateroom, but I was a little in love with the Getaway which was around $600-700pp for an inside stateroom. Both had great onboard credit offers. Then I noticed an extremely good price on the Allure of the Seas (around $600pp inside), and Max fell in love with the ship. We were watching the price and preparing to book....

And then I went home one afternoon because I needed the box to return a camera lens I had rented. I was standing in the kitchen talking to my mother and mindlessly flipping through the mail when I noticed an envelope addressed to me from Carnival Cruise Line.


Free Carnival Cruise by vshingl, on Flickr


Free Carnival Cruise by vshingl, on Flickr

I get mail from cruise lines all of the time, so I wasn't at all surprised by the envelope. However, when I opened it up and read that I had qualified for a free cabin (yep... I'm one of those people), I couldn't believe it. My mom was skeptical and told me to photocopy it and leave it for my dad to check out. After returning to school, I went online and logged into my VIFP account, and then I started to believe it....


Carnival Free Cruise by vshingl, on Flickr

I knew exactly which cruise I wanted - the 8-day on the Carnival Breeze - and was excited to find that the March 15 sailing was included in the promotion.


Carnival Free Cruise by vshingl, on Flickr

I immediately called Max and told him the good news. He was ecstatic and ready to book as long as my dad was good with the terms of agreement. Unfortunately, by the time my dad was home and able to check it out, the $80 balcony room was gone. I contemplated briefly switching to the Carnival Dream (I've already been on that ship) so that I could get the balcony room but decided that was a ridiculous reason to pass up an extra day on a new ship with new ports. I called Carnival to book the cruise just to make sure that I understood everything (and was hoping that maybe there was a balcony available... no luck). The Carnival representative was super excited for me, saying, "Who gives away free cruises? My company! It is a great company!"


Carnival Free Cruise by vshingl, on Flickr

It's not actually a free cruise, just a free stateroom. We still paid taxes and government fees and also purchased the vacation protection. Which meant that the total cost of our cruise booking was only $366.50 for two people - still amazing!

Choosing the Cabin

Well, I didn't get much of a choice. I wanted the $80pp balcony upgrade, but it was unavailable. So instead, I did the $40pp ocean view upgrade. The Carnival rep said that she had stayed in that category stateroom - she called it a family ocean view - and that it was a really great room and had two bathrooms. I had the choice between two rooms, and I chose the one closer to the stairs.

Pre-Cruise Planning

This is something I completely skipped over for my Royal Princess review, but Max very much enjoys pre-cruise planning. He enjoys looking through the excursions on the website and reading the reviews to decide what to do.

The two of us got our SCUBA certifications this semester. Max's dad dives and had always encouraged Max to do it, and I finally had a bit of freedom in my schedule this semester, so we were able to do it through Clemson. We were looking to do a dive excursion, and there were three ports that offered it - Grand Turk, Aruba, and La Romana. After reading through the reviews, we decided that we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the third largest barrier reef in the world and booked our scuba excursion for our day in Grand Turk through Carnival.

The other excursion we booked was something I never would have even been interested in. But Max read the reviews which were very positive and decided that we should do the Dune Buggy tour in La Romana, Dominican Republic. It took a bit of persuasion to sell me on it, but the reviews on Carnival's website were very thorough, and this was something that I normally wouldn't do on a cruise with my family.

My Camera Bag

I usually get several questions about cameras and gear, so below I've listed all of the gear in my camera bag! It seems to grow larger with each review... I may be a bit of a gear addict. For the most part, I shoot with my Nikon D7100 which I carry around my neck almost all of the time. When I'm doing something risky or can't carry as much equipment, I shoot with my Nikon 1 compact camera. And for this trip, I rented a GoPro from BorrowLenses because I wanted to be able to take photos scuba diving, and I wanted to see if it was something I'd like to buy in the future.

Nikon D7100 camera body, Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 lens, Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight

Nikon 1 compact camera, 10-30mm Nikon 1 lens, 30-110mm Nikon 1 lens

MeFoto Backpacker Travel Tripod

Wireless Remote

Also, I rented a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition which came with the underwater housing and several other gadgets. I bought a GoPole mount from Amazon to use underwater.
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Travel Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

My Photo Reviews:
Independence of the Seas Eastern Caribbean
Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean // Carnival Breeze Southern Caribbean
Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean // NCL Epic Western Med // NCL Epic SOLO Med
Island Princess Panama Canal // Monarch of the Seas Bahamas
Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean


Read my reviews without the comments here:
Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean // Carnival Breeze Southern Caribbean // Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean // Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean

Completed Cruises:
2016 Norwegian Epic [Christmas], Western Caribbean
2015 Pacific Princess [Christmas], Panama Canal Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale
2014 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2014 Disney Fantasy, Western Caribbean
2014 Carnival Breeze, Southern Caribbean
2013 Royal Princess [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2013 Norwegian Epic, Western Mediterranean (Rome Roundtrip)
2013 Norwegian Epic, Western Mediterranean (Barcelona Roundtrip)
2012 Island Princess [Christmas] Panama Canal Partial Transit
2012 Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas, Bahamas
2011 Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas [Christmas], Southern Caribbean
2010 Carnival Dream [Christmas], Exotic Western Caribbean
2010 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas, Southern Caribbean
2009 Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2008 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas [New Year's], Western Caribbean
2007 Carnival Inspiration [New Year's], Cozumel
2004 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean
2001 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, Alaska
2000 Disney Magic, Bahamas

#3
Connecticut
5,060 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Awesome start to your review!!! Thank you for taking the time to do it. We will be on the Breeze for our 2nd time in July, doing this exact itinerary. ))). Bummer about the balcony. . Ok. I'm ready for more.
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01-1994 Carnival Sensation-Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios
04-15-2012 Carnival Pride-Half Moon Cay, Freeport, and Nassau
04-13-2013 Carnival Breeze-Antigua, Tortola, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk
07-05-2014 Carnival Breeze-Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Curacao, and Aruba.
6/11/2016 Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas-St. Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee.




#4
San Antonio, Texas
4,455 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Subscribing. I don't sail Carnival but I LOVE your reviews and photos. I even gave you credit in my recent Allure review. I dragged myself out of bed at a ridiculous hour in the morning for some shots of the ship, after seeing your Royal Princess photos.

Sent from my SGH-M919 using Tapatalk
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Karen
156 Nights at Sea
7/97 Carnival Jubilee - Mex Riviera

12/04 Empress of the Seas - S. Caribbean Photos
12/07 Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas Photos

4/08 Carnival Destiny - S. Caribbean
4/10 Serenade of the Seas - S. Caribbean
9/10 Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas Photos

1/11 Ruby Princess - E. Caribbean Photos
2/11 Navigator of the Seas - Cozumel Photos
8/11 Star Princess - E. Med/Greek Isles Photos
4/12 Jewel of the Seas - W. Caribbean
4/12 Caribbean Princess - S. Caribbean
3/13 Monarch of the Seas (farewell cruise) - Bahamas Photos
11/13 Caribbean Princess - W. Caribbean Photos
1/14 Jewel of the Seas - S. Caribbean Photos
1/14 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean Photos
4/15 Serenade of the Seas - Nola to Boston
10/15 Serenade of the Seas - Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale

4/16 Regal Princess - W. Caribbean
5/16 Coral Princess - Alaska
2/17 Coral Princess - Panama Canal Photos

4/17 Liberty of the Seas - W. Caribbean

Next cruise(s)
11/2018 Adventure of the Seas - E. Caribbean

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
#5
Los Angeles, CA
3,176 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Thank you all for joining in!

Originally posted by Cruzin-K
Subscribing. I don't sail Carnival but I LOVE your reviews and photos. I even gave you credit in my recent Allure review. I dragged myself out of bed at a ridiculous hour in the morning for some shots of the ship, after seeing your Royal Princess photos.

Sent from my SGH-M919 using Tapatalk
Yay! You found me, Karen! I posted on the Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean (that one got removed) boards in hopes to find some of my loyal readers. I do wish that Cruise Critic had a private message feature because there were a few users coming to mind who I was really wishing I had a way to contact.

Do you mind sharing the link to your Allure review? I would love to read it!
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Travel Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

My Photo Reviews:
Independence of the Seas Eastern Caribbean
Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean // Carnival Breeze Southern Caribbean
Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean // NCL Epic Western Med // NCL Epic SOLO Med
Island Princess Panama Canal // Monarch of the Seas Bahamas
Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean


Read my reviews without the comments here:
Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean // Carnival Breeze Southern Caribbean // Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean // Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean

Completed Cruises:
2016 Norwegian Epic [Christmas], Western Caribbean
2015 Pacific Princess [Christmas], Panama Canal Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale
2014 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2014 Disney Fantasy, Western Caribbean
2014 Carnival Breeze, Southern Caribbean
2013 Royal Princess [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2013 Norwegian Epic, Western Mediterranean (Rome Roundtrip)
2013 Norwegian Epic, Western Mediterranean (Barcelona Roundtrip)
2012 Island Princess [Christmas] Panama Canal Partial Transit
2012 Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas, Bahamas
2011 Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas [Christmas], Southern Caribbean
2010 Carnival Dream [Christmas], Exotic Western Caribbean
2010 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas, Southern Caribbean
2009 Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2008 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas [New Year's], Western Caribbean
2007 Carnival Inspiration [New Year's], Cozumel
2004 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean
2001 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, Alaska
2000 Disney Magic, Bahamas

#6
Calgary, Canada
2,806 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Sweet!! I LOVE your reviews!! Really looking forward to all your photos and observations. Congrats on getting the free cruise... how awesome is that!

Celine
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At sea so far: 294 days and 32 cruises... and counting



#7
Los Angeles, CA
3,176 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Friday, March 14, 2014 - We're Coming, Miami!

I did contemplate flying to Miami, but decided on driving. I've done the drive a few times before, as has Max (he's gone to both Orange bowls that Clemson played in while in school). We decided to leave at 5 AM in hopes of getting to Miami in time to enjoy dinner and the hotel. The difference between leaving with Max and leaving with my family is that when I leave with Max, we actually leave on time...

5 AM wasn't a good departure time, though, because it was timed perfectly for us to hit both Atlanta and Miami rush hours.

As we drove through Atlanta, I began shouting at Max to take photos of the skyline.


ATL by vshingl, on Flickr

He wasn't too happy with me because he was playing Clash of the Clans, an iPhone game to which he has a current obsession which I don't quite understand but can't be judgmental of because I doubt he fully understands my obsession with travel blogging... or photography... or Disney trivia.

Cops were everywhere in Georgia. I passed at least ten. There was also a bit of construction on I-75. We also witnessed a horrifying wreck in Florida right before the turnpike on the north side where a boat fell off of the trailer which caused at least a 9-mile back-up (when we passed it). Those poor people weren't going anywhere for a few hours!

We were going to hit Orlando around lunch time, and we debated going to Disney to eat but decided that it would slow us down too much. We ate at one of the travel plazas along the turnpike instead which had great options including Earl of Sandwich!

We hit Miami rush hour which was terrible. Max was driving then, and he was really annoyed... just wanted to get there.


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr
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Travel Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

My Photo Reviews:
Independence of the Seas Eastern Caribbean
Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean // Carnival Breeze Southern Caribbean
Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean // NCL Epic Western Med // NCL Epic SOLO Med
Island Princess Panama Canal // Monarch of the Seas Bahamas
Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean


Read my reviews without the comments here:
Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean // Carnival Breeze Southern Caribbean // Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean // Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean

Completed Cruises:
2016 Norwegian Epic [Christmas], Western Caribbean
2015 Pacific Princess [Christmas], Panama Canal Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale
2014 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2014 Disney Fantasy, Western Caribbean
2014 Carnival Breeze, Southern Caribbean
2013 Royal Princess [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2013 Norwegian Epic, Western Mediterranean (Rome Roundtrip)
2013 Norwegian Epic, Western Mediterranean (Barcelona Roundtrip)
2012 Island Princess [Christmas] Panama Canal Partial Transit
2012 Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas, Bahamas
2011 Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas [Christmas], Southern Caribbean
2010 Carnival Dream [Christmas], Exotic Western Caribbean
2010 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas, Southern Caribbean
2009 Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2008 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas [New Year's], Western Caribbean
2007 Carnival Inspiration [New Year's], Cozumel
2004 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean
2001 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, Alaska
2000 Disney Magic, Bahamas

#8
Godley, TX
235 Posts
Joined May 2010
Love the review ... are you on facebook?

ETA, nevermind that fb question, I found you on there and messaged you
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Hooked on Cruising!

CCL Ecstasy ~ 9/9/10
CCL Triumph ~ 12/3/12
CCL Magic ~ 11/23/2014 THANKSGIVING


#9
San Antonio, Texas
4,455 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by LittleMissMagic
Thank you all for joining in!



Yay! You found me, Karen! I posted on the Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean (that one got removed) boards in hopes to find some of my loyal readers. I do wish that Cruise Critic had a private message feature because there were a few users coming to mind who I was really wishing I had a way to contact.

Do you mind sharing the link to your Allure review? I would love to read it!
It's very very short . I did include the link to my not so short collection of photos on Flickr though.

I found you from the Princess board. I've been bouncing between all the boards for the poor ships stuck in Texas, so I would have found you eventually.

I'm having to type the link because I haven't quite got the hang of copying and pasting on my phone. Hope I get it right.

Http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1992139

Sent from my SGH-M919 using Tapatalk
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Karen
156 Nights at Sea
7/97 Carnival Jubilee - Mex Riviera

12/04 Empress of the Seas - S. Caribbean Photos
12/07 Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas Photos

4/08 Carnival Destiny - S. Caribbean
4/10 Serenade of the Seas - S. Caribbean
9/10 Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas Photos

1/11 Ruby Princess - E. Caribbean Photos
2/11 Navigator of the Seas - Cozumel Photos
8/11 Star Princess - E. Med/Greek Isles Photos
4/12 Jewel of the Seas - W. Caribbean
4/12 Caribbean Princess - S. Caribbean
3/13 Monarch of the Seas (farewell cruise) - Bahamas Photos
11/13 Caribbean Princess - W. Caribbean Photos
1/14 Jewel of the Seas - S. Caribbean Photos
1/14 Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean Photos
4/15 Serenade of the Seas - Nola to Boston
10/15 Serenade of the Seas - Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale

4/16 Regal Princess - W. Caribbean
5/16 Coral Princess - Alaska
2/17 Coral Princess - Panama Canal Photos

4/17 Liberty of the Seas - W. Caribbean

Next cruise(s)
11/2018 Adventure of the Seas - E. Caribbean

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
#11
New York
373 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Thanks for posting about this on the Princess board. Love reading your reviews!
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Regal Princess-Canada-10/17 (NYC, St. John, Halifax)
Regal Princess-Repositioning-10/16 (NYC, St. Maarten, Antigua, Bonaire, Fort Lauderdale)
Regal Princess-Repositioning-10/15 (NYC, St. Thomas, Antigua, Aruba, Fort Lauderdale)

Royal Princess-Repositioning-10/14 (NYC, St. Thomas, Antigua, Aruba, Fort Lauderdale)
Regal Princess-Mediterranean-6/14 (Venice, Kotor, Rome, Tuscany, Provence, Barcelona)
Star Princess-Alaska-9/13 (Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay)
Ruby Princess-Eastern Caribbean-3/13 (Fort Lauderdale, Nassau, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Princess Cay)
Crown Princess-Southern Caribbean-4/12 (Fort Lauderdale, Bahamas, Curacao, Aruba)
Caribbean Princess-New England & Canada-8/11 (NYC, Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport)
Royal Caribbean-Radiance of the Sea-Western Caribbean-4/11 (Tampa, Cozumel, Costa Maya)
Caribbean Princess-Southern Caribbean-4/10 (San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados)
Sapphire Princess-Mexican Riviera-4/09 (LA, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas)
Crown Princess-Southern Caribbean-4/08 (San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba)

#12
America's Roller Coast
150 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Yay! You're back! I was counting down the days to this photo review. I can't wait to hear about your experience with Carnival.

Two comments so far:

1. Excellent use of your Grand Turk day, ie. scuba diving. Not too much else to do on Grand Turk other than the pool at Margaritaville. The port beach is meh!

2. Miami traffic is the bane of my vacation existence even on the best of days. I can't imagine what it would be like during rush hour.
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Ships Sailed:
RC Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas - 7-10-2006
Carnival Destiny - Exotic Eastern Caribbean - 12-26-2011
RC Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas - 5-6-2013
Disney Magic - Bahamas - 4-25-2014
Norweigian Sky - Bahamas - 4-13-2015
Carnival Paradise - Western Caribbean - 9-26-2016
Carnival Vista - Western Caribbean - 3-5-2017

UP NEXT:

Carnival Victory - Western Caribbean - 4-30-2018


Ports Visited:
Nassau (5X)
Key West (2X)
Grand Turk
Half Moon Cay
CocoCay
Castaway Cay
Grand Bahama Island (Freeport)
Great Stirrup Cay
Grand Cayman (2X)
Cozumel (2X)
Ocho Rios


UP NEXT:
Key West
Cozumel

#13
RI
1,670 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Awesome start !!!! Cant wait to read and see more!! Keep it coming, the Breeze is a beauty of a ship! We'll be sailing again in 32 more days so any review with pics , woohoo!!
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t=1188905&highlight[/url]= My Dream Review!! April 2010
Past cruises,
RCl Enchantment of the Seas 1998
Disney Wonder 2008
Carnival Dream 2010
Carnival Freedom 2011
Carnival Miracle 2012 and Master Mixologist Winner!! WOOHOO!Have you had your "Woohoo Wonder" today?
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1639925 my Miracle Review...Finally!
Carnival Breeze 2013 (fabulous cruise)
Carnival Breeze 2014
Carnival Sunshine 2015(loved it)
Breezing with my Babe on the Breeze 2016 for our 20th Anniversary!
Up next..Christmas in the Carribean!! Magic 12/17
#14
White Plains, NY
2,686 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Lucky you to get the free cruise offer! I'm excited to read the rest of your review and see pictures. Enjoying your review style!
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Carnival Legend 9/06(The Honeymoon Cruise that started it all)
Carnival Victory 9/07
Jewel of the Seas 2/08
Carnival Imagination 12/08
Carnival Fascination 2/09
Carnival Triumph 6/09
Carnival Valor 9/09
Carnival Imagination 1/10
Carnival Freedom 3/10
Carnival Glory 7/11 (Our Son's First!!!)
Carnival Miracle 9/11 (PR,ST T,GT)
Carnival Miracle 10/12 (GT,HMC,Nassau)
Carnival Splendor 10/13 (PR, ST T,GT)
Carnival Splendor 10/14 (GT,HMC, Nassau)
Norwegian Escape 8/18 (Bermuda)
#15
Chicago, via NJ, via Miami, via London, via Northern Ireland
6,513 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Originally posted by LittleMissMagic
Friday, March 14, 2014 - We're Coming, Miami!

I did contemplate flying to Miami, but decided on driving. I've done the drive a few times before, as has Max (he's gone to both Orange bowls that Clemson played in while in school). We decided to leave at 5 AM in hopes of getting to Miami in time to enjoy dinner and the hotel. The difference between leaving with Max and leaving with my family is that when I leave with Max, we actually leave on time...

5 AM wasn't a good departure time, though, because it was timed perfectly for us to hit both Atlanta and Miami rush hours.

As we drove through Atlanta, I began shouting at Max to take photos of the skyline.


ATL by vshingl, on Flickr

He wasn't too happy with me because he was playing Clash of the Clans, an iPhone game to which he has a current obsession which I don't quite understand but can't be judgmental of because I doubt he fully understands my obsession with travel blogging... or photography... or Disney trivia.

Cops were everywhere in Georgia. I passed at least ten. There was also a bit of construction on I-75. We also witnessed a horrifying wreck in Florida right before the turnpike on the north side where a boat fell off of the trailer which caused at least a 9-mile back-up (when we passed it). Those poor people weren't going anywhere for a few hours!

We were going to hit Orlando around lunch time, and we debated going to Disney to eat but decided that it would slow us down too much. We ate at one of the travel plazas along the turnpike instead which had great options including Earl of Sandwich!

We hit Miami rush hour which was terrible. Max was driving then, and he was really annoyed... just wanted to get there.


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr
Victoria, I have strolled/moseyed/sashayed over from the Princess Boards to read yet another Shingletonian Epic. I am pulling up a comfy chair...

Norris
norrisadair.blogspot.com
#17
Tennessee
412 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Can't wait to read your review!
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Pride of America – 7 nt – Honolulu – Hawaii Inter-Island 6/10/17 ***Son's Senior Trip
Carnival Dream – 7 nt – New Orleans – Western Caribbean 7/24/16
Carnival Elation - 4 nt - New Orleans - Western Caribbean 1/14/16
RC Adventure of the Seas - 7 nt - San Juan - Southern Caribbean 8/8/15
Carnival Breeze - 8 nt - Miami - Southern Caribbean 6/21/14
RC Monarch of the Seas - 3 nt - Port Canaveral - Bahamas 3/29/13 ***Farewell Cruise
Carnival Legend - 7 nt - Tampa - Exotic Western Caribbean 10/7/12
Carnival Freedom - 6 nt - Ft. Lauderdale - Western Caribbean 9/30/12
RC Liberty of the Seas - 7 nt - Miami - Eastern Caribbean 10/3/10
NCL Norwegian Dawn - 5 nt - Miami - Western Caribbean 2/7/10
Carnival Paradise - 4 nt - Long Beach - Baja California 10/5/09
RC Sovereign of the Seas - 4 nt - Port Canaveral - Bahamas 10/1/07
Carnival Elation - 5 nt - Port Canaveral - Eastern Caribbean 1/6/07
#18
Los Angeles, CA
3,176 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by mairinmaureen
Yay! You're back! I was counting down the days to this photo review. I can't wait to hear about your experience with Carnival.

Two comments so far:

1. Excellent use of your Grand Turk day, ie. scuba diving. Not too much else to do on Grand Turk other than the pool at Margaritaville. The port beach is meh!

2. Miami traffic is the bane of my vacation existence even on the best of days. I can't imagine what it would be like during rush hour.
I'm glad you found me!!!

Max's first comment when arriving in Grand Turk was, "Is this what all Caribbean beaches are like?" I thought he meant the white sand and clear blue waters and answered yes, for the most part - I was surprised that he seemed disappointed. When walking back along the beach, I realized that he might have meant close to the ship with so many chairs and asked him to clarify. Sure enough, the excessive amount of chairs was what concerned him!

The Margaritaville did look pretty nice, though....
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Travel Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

My Photo Reviews:
Independence of the Seas Eastern Caribbean
Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean // Carnival Breeze Southern Caribbean
Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean // NCL Epic Western Med // NCL Epic SOLO Med
Island Princess Panama Canal // Monarch of the Seas Bahamas
Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean


Read my reviews without the comments here:
Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean // Carnival Breeze Southern Caribbean // Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean // Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean

Completed Cruises:
2016 Norwegian Epic [Christmas], Western Caribbean
2015 Pacific Princess [Christmas], Panama Canal Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale
2014 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2014 Disney Fantasy, Western Caribbean
2014 Carnival Breeze, Southern Caribbean
2013 Royal Princess [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2013 Norwegian Epic, Western Mediterranean (Rome Roundtrip)
2013 Norwegian Epic, Western Mediterranean (Barcelona Roundtrip)
2012 Island Princess [Christmas] Panama Canal Partial Transit
2012 Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas, Bahamas
2011 Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas [Christmas], Southern Caribbean
2010 Carnival Dream [Christmas], Exotic Western Caribbean
2010 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas, Southern Caribbean
2009 Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2008 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas [New Year's], Western Caribbean
2007 Carnival Inspiration [New Year's], Cozumel
2004 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean
2001 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, Alaska
2000 Disney Magic, Bahamas

#19
America's Roller Coast
150 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by LittleMissMagic
The Margaritaville did look pretty nice, though....
The swim up bar is especially nice.
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Ships Sailed:
RC Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas - 7-10-2006
Carnival Destiny - Exotic Eastern Caribbean - 12-26-2011
RC Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas - 5-6-2013
Disney Magic - Bahamas - 4-25-2014
Norweigian Sky - Bahamas - 4-13-2015
Carnival Paradise - Western Caribbean - 9-26-2016
Carnival Vista - Western Caribbean - 3-5-2017

UP NEXT:

Carnival Victory - Western Caribbean - 4-30-2018


Ports Visited:
Nassau (5X)
Key West (2X)
Grand Turk
Half Moon Cay
CocoCay
Castaway Cay
Grand Bahama Island (Freeport)
Great Stirrup Cay
Grand Cayman (2X)
Cozumel (2X)
Ocho Rios


UP NEXT:
Key West
Cozumel

#20
Los Angeles, CA
3,176 Posts
Joined Jul 2010

Miami by vshingl, on Flickr

Finally, when waiting in the terrible traffic, I spotted our hotel!


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr

We were staying at the Conrad Miami. See, Max's mother travels for work and stays in hotels typically 4-5 nights a week. Therefore, she has an incredible amount of hotel reward points, and she is so generous to use her points to book hotels for Max and me when we travel. But for this trip, she really spoiled us!

The entry is kind of confusing (for non-city dwellers like ourselves), so I'm surprised we figured it out the first try. You turn past the hotel and pull into the parking garage where they valet your car... I'm not even sure if self-park is an option. Then you take the express elevators to the 25th floor which is where the hotel lobby is located (I do have a bit of experience with mixed-use buildings, as I designed a mixed-use high rise on the NYC High Line for a studio project). Max was fussing at me because he had traveled in his sweatpants and felt under-dressed in this classy establishment.

After checking in, we had no luck calling the elevator. The light wouldn't come on, and we were looking rather silly among all of these people in suits. Since we only had two flights to go, I suggested we take the fire stairs. The entire situation was really amusing to me, but Max didn't find it quite so funny as I assured him up the stairs, "They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like us!" "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent!"

Once we opened the door though, who cares how anyone else put on their pants? Because we had an awesome room for one night!


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr

It was a king suite overlooking the bay.


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr

I have never before stayed in a suite in such a ritzy hotel.


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr


Miami by vshingl, on Flickr
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My Photo Reviews:
Independence of the Seas Eastern Caribbean
Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean // Carnival Breeze Southern Caribbean
Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean // NCL Epic Western Med // NCL Epic SOLO Med
Island Princess Panama Canal // Monarch of the Seas Bahamas
Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean


Read my reviews without the comments here:
Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean // Carnival Breeze Southern Caribbean // Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean // Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean

Completed Cruises:
2016 Norwegian Epic [Christmas], Western Caribbean
2015 Pacific Princess [Christmas], Panama Canal Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale
2014 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2014 Disney Fantasy, Western Caribbean
2014 Carnival Breeze, Southern Caribbean
2013 Royal Princess [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2013 Norwegian Epic, Western Mediterranean (Rome Roundtrip)
2013 Norwegian Epic, Western Mediterranean (Barcelona Roundtrip)
2012 Island Princess [Christmas] Panama Canal Partial Transit
2012 Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas, Bahamas
2011 Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas [Christmas], Southern Caribbean
2010 Carnival Dream [Christmas], Exotic Western Caribbean
2010 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas, Southern Caribbean
2009 Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas [Christmas], Eastern Caribbean
2008 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas [New Year's], Western Caribbean
2007 Carnival Inspiration [New Year's], Cozumel
2004 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean
2001 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, Alaska
2000 Disney Magic, Bahamas