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PalmettoNative

Carnival Breeze: 3/9/14 Review (w/ pictures)

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Well it has been quite a while since my first cruise and it's review...a shame I couldn't find it still on here - but I digress. My wife and I have talked for the last few years about taking another cruise, but other trip opportunities came up that made the cruise less attractive (i.e. Feb 2013 was practically a free trip to Dublin, Ireland for a week...who would say not to that. But that is a separate review for another day - and website).

 

Booking and Preparations

But we finally opted to take a cruise this year, mainly because my other options did not please my wife in the least. (1. A week to the Grand Canyon/AZ or 2. A week skiing in Colorado or Utah [my first choice]). But I suppose with the cold and brutal winter we have had...the idea of spending time in the cold did not please her...since I'm really the only skier anyway.

[Now before I get the canned "You live in SC, try the cold WE have had..." I am not downplaying the cold other parts of the country (and Canada) have had...lord knows my business travels have taken me this winter to NYC, Upper Saskatchewan, Germany, and a few other cold places. But we rarely see snow here and for our very thin Southern blood...let's just say I've spent alot of time inside...which might account for the larger than normal "winter coat" I have put on this season]

Here is a picture of my daughter and I skiing down our street during a recent storm

1926642_10151959817698857_27458444_n.jpg

 

We looked at all our cruising options and landed on a 6 Day cruise to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel on the Carnival Breeze, it's big, it's new, it's got a huge Serenity area, it's got lots of bars...what's not to like right? So with a Cove Balcony room booked...we waiting with anticipation for the sail day to arrive.

 

Days before the packing madness and preparations began. I ended up repacking about three times as things were removed and added...mainly to accommodate the larger girth of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners...yes I'm still working on shedding those pounds...don't judge me. It's a process. So I'm a bit of an hobbiest photographer. Pretty much this means I spend way more than I should on camera equipment, add shiny new cameras/lenses to my collection at will, have a plethora of camera bags...and oh yeah I don't get paid for my average skills. But regardless I had to pack a good portion of my gear...some of which I never used (go figure)

dsc00634.jpg?w=614&h=459

I'm sure many will ask (or at least thinking of asking - so...)

Here is what I packed:

Pentax K-30

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4

Pentax 18-55mm WR

Pentax 50-200mm WR

Sony NEX-5R

Sony 16mm f/2.8

Sony 18-55mm

Sony RX100

Kata 3N1-25PL

Dolica GX600B200

National Geographic NG1212 Case

Manfrotto Unica I (not shown)

 

Thankfully my in-laws took our daughter for the week prior to our leaving town and took her camping at the beach, this allowed us to get all the dogs to the vet for their yearly check up (5 big dogs - almost 400lbs of critters), my wife to get a cavity filled at the dentist and other errands, and me to answer endless emails at work before all our customer and sales guys go crazy without any contact with me for a week.

[Even though she will never read this, a VERY special thanks to my great neighbor for watching our dogs for the week and keeping our house from being turned into a giant chew toy]

 

Next up in our little adventure the drive to Miami...

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Can't wait to hear more as I was on the same cruise. Love to compare notes!

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Looking forward to your review. We just booked a cove on the Breeze last Friday for January 3, 2015.

 

I think you will be happy with your choice. I know we were. I liked having the way the balcony was more enclosed. Kinda private and kept the high winds on the last few days to a minimum on the balcony.

 

I also liked how close to the water we were, for taking photos it gave a great perspective. Getting to dinner was easy as it was one deck up, and exiting for ports was a Breeze (pardon the pun). Especially debarkation...which I'll get into later.

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Great start my friend!!! We cruise once again on the Breeze in 39 more days still cant get enough reading about this ship!! Looking forward to more of your review!

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Looking forward to your review! I'm anticipating some awesome photos with all that camera equipment you took! DH and I haven't been on the Breeze yet, but really want to. I've been contemplating a cove balcony, too, so I'm happy to hear you liked your cove.

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Looking forward to your review! I'm anticipating some awesome photos with all that camera equipment you took! DH and I haven't been on the Breeze yet, but really want to. I've been contemplating a cove balcony, too, so I'm happy to hear you liked your cove.

 

Trust me the photos are more a product of Lightroom than my skills :D

I have to admit, my skills have gotten better since I started, but no where need waiting for National Geographic to start knocking on my door.

 

I'll just keep eyeballing a full frame camera and annoying my wife with the idea that I NEED it...for some reason or another.

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I'm looking forward to your review. My family and I were on the same cruise and we had a cove balcony as well. This was our second year in a row on the Breeze,same week & same cabin:) We had a great time and we're already thinking about our next cruise. I hope you had a good trip!

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.........

dsc00634.jpg?w=614&h=459

I'm sure many will ask (or at least thinking of asking - so...)

Here is what I packed:

Pentax K-30

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4

Pentax 18-55mm WR

Pentax 50-200mm WR

Sony NEX-5R

Sony 16mm f/2.8

Sony 18-55mm

Sony RX100

Kata 3N1-25PL

Dolica GX600B200

National Geographic NG1212 Case

Manfrotto Unica I (not shown)

 

..........

 

 

PalmettoNative,

 

LOL. Almost as many as I take and don't use. :p I just ordered a GoPro Black and a bunch of accessories to add to my collection........I sure hope I use at least most of it next cruise.

Edited by PaulMedik

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Yay!!!! I never get sick of these Breeze picture reviews......:D:D

We'll be taking our 2nd one, in 110 short days:p

Off to the Southern Caribbean, this time.

Cannot wait........

 

Cannot wait to read MORE....

Anytime now.....:rolleyes::rolleyes:

Kidding. Hurry back, though....lol

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PalmettoNative,

 

LOL. Almost as many as I take and don't use. :p I just ordered a GoPro Black and a bunch of accessories to add to my collection........I sure hope I use at least most of it next cruise.

 

I've talked about adding a GoPro to my collection for my road cycling and ski trips, but just haven't pulled the trigger yet. Just a bit more than I can justify for a unitasker (for now) ;)

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Yay!!!! I never get sick of these Breeze picture reviews......:D:D

We'll be taking our 2nd one, in 110 short days:p

Off to the Southern Caribbean, this time.

Cannot wait........

 

Cannot wait to read MORE....

Anytime now.....:rolleyes::rolleyes:

Kidding. Hurry back, though....lol

 

I've got the first day to Miami written, just need to wait until I'm back home with my laptop to add the photos that everyone reads these reviews for :cool:

I'll apologize in advance for being long winded in my review post

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I am eager to hear. I was on the 8 might breeze last May. We are going again this June. We had to being we got a freebie. I always love hearing reviews. The cove balconies are awesome too

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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I've got the first day to Miami written, just need to wait until I'm back home with my laptop to add the photos that everyone reads these reviews for :cool:

 

I'll apologize in advance for being long winded in my review post

 

 

Don't apologize!!!! I love long winded and I love pictures!!!! :D. Thank you again for taking the time to do this!!!

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Going on the Breeze in 26 days! Subscribed and eager for more!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Subscribed! I've stopped packing all the camera equipment and for cruises and just bring the underwater pocket camera and the compact DSLR kit, seems to work best for my needs. I've stopped hauling the Canon Rebel and all of the lenses as it distracts too much from the trip itself.

 

 

Next cruise: Carnival Breeze June 2014

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Leaving Home

 

So the night before we departed to Miami, my wife and I decided to hit the bed early…you know because someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to drive to Miami…I say someone because that someone was me…:rolleyes:

 

Flights at the time were around $300-400 per person and I really didn’t want to cash in any of my 140K+ Flyer Miles for this trip as we are planning to go to Europe again next year….plus it was only 11hrs on paper…and in my VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI (diesel) I could do the whole trip in two tanks of fuel (three if you count the fill up once home).

 

So the night before I loaded everything up, grabbed a shower, set the alarm for 4am, and was in bed by 9pm. I wanted to leave by 5am, but my wife who was too excited to sleep said she would wake me up at 3am…which I knew would take an act of Congress, but I loved her optimism. Needless to say I woke up at 3am all on my own and gentle woke her up and said we could get up now and leave early to roll back over…apparently if I want to get my wife up early…I just need to plan a cruise.

 

I got up let the dogs out for a nice potty break only to see the outside temp was hovering just below freezing at 31°F. I took a pitcher of water out to the car to get any frost off the windshield and fired up the diesel, turned on the heated seats and went to put the final touches on shutting the house down and putting the dogs up. And thankfully we were on the road just before 4am.

 

10009283_10152018595573857_1307925669_n.jpg

 

We were in no rush, so I locked the cruise control on 70mph and leaned back and enjoyed the toasty seat warmers (by far one of the best options you can add to a car in my opinion). We stopped in Walterboro, SC at Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and with tummies full, this would get us through until lunch.

 

-SIDE TRIP-

 

For anyone ever making the long journey down I-95, you would be doing yourselves a disservice by not taking 20-30mins out of your day to stop off in Yemassee, SC and seeing the Old Sheldon Church Ruins. It is just about 15 mins off the Interstate and is a wonderful and serene location. Especially if you catch it on a sunny day with lots of light. Photographers will love this. A little history lesson for you: It was originally known as Prince William’s Parish Church and was built between 1745 and 1753. The church was burned by the British in 1779 during the Revolutionary War. In 1826 it was rebuilt and contrary reports say that the church was burned down again in 1865 during General William Sherman’s “March to the Sea,” but a letter dating back to 1866 stated that the church was spared, but was the insides were gutted to repair homes damaged by Sherman’s march. Either way, the remaining brick structures and gravestones surrounded by southern Live Oaks covered in Spanish Moss is an amazing little stop. The short drive back to the interstate have oak lined plantations drives that are also pretty stunning.

 

539795_534272859983373_1090414157_n.jpg

 

1379215_534272913316701_15374535_n.jpg

 

…back to the topic, you all aren’t here for a history lesson, but you can all say you learned something today…who knows it might be on Jeopardy one day….you’re welcome in advance

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The trip was pretty uneventful, just miles and miles of horrible singing of 80’s songs, mindless hypothetical situations, an impromptu dance session that seem to confuse and amuse the countless Canadians that passed us, and the occasional “pull my finger” trick…my wife can be so immature at times…ok it was me, but really would you expect anything less from a 36 year old man-child? A quick stop off for diesel before crossing into FL and then there wasn’t another stop for the next 215 miles.

 

1912097_10152016482433857_899792574_n.jpg

 

Then came the mysterious case of the invisible Olive Garden. Invisible you say…inconceivable! Pasta sounded pretty good, so when the magical blue signs showed something other than the fast food fare you typically are offered, we decided to pull off. The “Lying Sign of Teasing Hunger” said 6 miles away…hmmm that’s more than I’d like to drive off the interstate, but hell we didn’t have anything special to do. 6 miles later…no more little hinting signs, it didn’t show up on my cars nearby food places on the GPS, and if we kept driving straight we would be practically be driving into the ocean. So we threw in the towel and decided to head back toward the interstate via Hwy 1…thinking we should easily find someplace to get out and sit down to a nice meal…nope. Unless you wanted some Taco Bell or McDonalds we were hopelessly disappointed.

 

By now my wife was on the verge of that female transformation stage where they go from “not hungry” to “bloody starving” (in about .5 seconds)…and any guys out there know what I’m talking about, you start searching the floorboards for that lost baggie of peanuts you stole off the stewardess’s cart a couple of flights ago or even a dog fur covered French fry to toss their way to save you from the ravenous beast they will soon become. Once back on the construction filled tarmac the next exit promoted an Applebee’s…only 2 miles off the interstate. Shall I dare test fate a second time? This time it showed in my car’s navigation and the first stage of the transformation was beginning to show on my wife’s face…it was now or never. A few short minutes later we were greeted with familiar signage of the Neighborhood Bar and Grille…not a favorite of mine, but any port in a storm…

 

After the taming of the hunger beast in both of us, we were back on the road happy and back to our singing. About an hour away from the hotel, my wife began looking up “Would you rather…” questions. I would hate for a psychologist to get ahold of my answers and my reasons…but I don’t need to pay someone to tell me I’m a bit off, it is clearly obvious after only spending a mere 5 minutes with me. But after 14 hours we finally arrived at the Hampton Inn & Suites Blue Lagoon Airport, still happily married and no worse for the wear. Anyone looking for a great place to stay with secure parking while cruising should look here. Check-in was smooth, room was large (suite upgrade for being a member of the club) came with a separate sleeping space and bathroom, kitchenette, and living room. Not a bad setup, plus they offered us a free shuttle ride to the Port of Miami included in our stay. Across the street from the hotel is a Publix (for your last minute needs) and a Starbucks (in case you like paying for fancy coffee and tea…which we did).

 

1932418_10152016494923857_1305543041_n.jpg

 

1920501_10152016494818857_2077347533_n.jpg

 

 

We dropped off our stuff, relaxed a few minutes then we were off to Scully’s Tavern. A couple of years ago we say this place on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and drooled as we watched them make garlic fries, scampi wings, and a potato chip encrusted mahi-mahi. So before our last cruise we stopped in and it was delicious…so we stopped in for round two. The food as always was excellent, but this time service was a bit scattered and a bit slow. We weren’t in any huge rush, and it could have been the odd location in the pool table area in the last booth…so I won’t condemn the place after this experience. If you love garlic…and I mean GARLIC…I recommend the scampi wings and garlic fries. My wife had the rosemary pork shank, and it was delicious, but a little heavy on the gristle/fatty parts…but sometimes that happens with that cut. None-the-less give it a look up if you are cruising out and your hotel is near the airport (and you have transportation).

 

1939970_10152016485178857_1184937229_n.jpg

 

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10013920_10152016488268857_1783856839_n.jpg

 

….Oh and on a completely unrelated blip on the day radar…during dinner we saw the Latin Dr. Zoidberg. And by that, I mean paint this guy pink and give him a bushier mustache and a lab coat and you would have had a dead ringer (now that I hear this out loud it really just means he looked NOTHING like Zoidberg, but sounded a lot like him…but I digress). You would hear him talk behind us and all I could see were those lobster claws snapping the pool cue in half while making some crack about Fry’s ridiculous pool skills. I have a picture, but it would be rude to call the man out completely…I’m an immature man-child, but I’m not a total savage, you will just have to take my word for it.

 

Thus ends the very long first day….and we weren’t even on the boat yet. Sorry for the long post, but story telling tends to get long winded with us Southerners…thankfully sans the stereotypical accent.

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I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. currently it's - 15 c... (5F). I'll be on the Brezze April 26...

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I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. currently it's - 15 c... (5F). I'll be on the Brezze April 26...

 

St Jean Sur Richelieu here... Sounds about right but it felt a lot colder than that today! Hate to one up you but we are on the Breeze Sunday.. :D Hope most of this review is posted by then!

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What a great start!!! I LOL at the "HANGRY" woman part!! I love this story telling kind of review!!!

 

Thank You!!:D:D

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St Jean Sur Richelieu here... Sounds about right but it felt a lot colder than that today! Hate to one up you but we are on the Breeze Sunday.. :D Hope most of this review is posted by then!

 

 

We get on the Saturday you get off and we get 2 extra days. ;)

 

 

 

Sent from my wonderful iPhone 5 using the fabulous Cruise Critic app.

Edited by MamallamaAndDaddy

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the pic of that old oak tree lined road is beautiful. Is the old church at the end of that road?

 

Subscribing just so I can see pics of the Breeze. :)

 

No the church is located a couple of miles from the street you see. But driving around that area it is not uncommon to find many a drive lined like this.

 

 

I'll try to get things up as quickly as possible. I'm playing catch up this week at the office and we have an engineer visiting from Germany today so my internet time maybe limited.

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Can't wait for more! I love the hungry wife bit, especially the dog hair covered french fry, but only because it may or may not be something I would find in my own car. Great review so far!

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Thank you for sharing your review with us. Can't wait to finish reading and viewing the pictures. We are in Alabama and taking a cruise out of New Orleans in October, and I'm so ready for it. Thanks again, hurry and finish posting please!!!

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My apologizes for not posting anything today...my good friend and cousin in law passed away last night after a short battle with cancer.

 

Plus sitting through a 6 hour training technical presentation today gave little time to type up any updates...but I'll start working on it

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So sorry for your loss...when the time comes and your ready to continue with your review we"ll be here, until then please take care.

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My apologizes for not posting anything today...my good friend and cousin in law passed away last night after a short battle with cancer.

 

Plus sitting through a 6 hour training technical presentation today gave little time to type up any updates...but I'll start working on it

 

Sorry for your loss. There's plenty of time to post pics.

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Embarking Day

 

So finally that day we all crave had arrived. Sadly the hotel shuttle didn't leave until 1145am...so somehow we had to kill about five hours. My toothbrush had won the battle over plaque and the revenge of a night filled with garlic and a mouthful of Listerine conquered the gum disease gingivitis...so what does one do with 4.5hrs remaining? If you guessed grab some breakfast and dirty up those pearly whites...you are right. The hotel breakfast is your typical lineup: waffle station, yogurt, scrambled powered eggs, cereal...you know the deal.

 

After some grub, we meandered across the street to Publix and grabbed a couple of last minute supplies. We had already packed a 12 pack of Dr. Pepper and two bottles of wine, so we didn't need much. Then on the way back we stopped next door at Starbucks for an overpriced coffee and tea...then it was back to the hotel where after a second battle with the enamel enemies, a weary battle had left me triumphant and tired. We grabbed a little cat nap then headed down stairs to meet up with the shuttle.

 

Again the shuttle was included in our hotel stay and the 12 person van was towing an adorable little U-Haul that we piled our luggage in. Sadly the van lacked any air conditioning...but thankfully it wasn't a long drive and we got our first glimpse of our home for the next week. She is very impressive and gives a good first impression.

 

1920446_10152016494978857_1214826747_n.jpg

 

541951_10152016495128857_2363601_n.jpg

 

So once gave the porter our bags and made our way to the terminal, we noticed a large number of people gathered outside, but thankfully they seemed content with wondering around outside...I couldn't understand their reasons but was glad they made it easier for us to get inside and started. It took a mere 10-15 minutes to get our passports and documents checked and get through security. Once upstairs it only took about 15 mins to get through the queue and get our S&S cards...the up the stairs to the customary 'Welcome Aboard' photo and across the gangway and we were on board by 1245pm. The process was as smooth as I remembered from our first cruise.

 

Once on board we were welcomed with a very nicely decorated atrium. I was pleased with how visually appealing the layout and decorations were. We only had the Carnival Valor to compare it too, but I really enjoyed the initial impression. We wondered Deck 3 and checked out the Sapphire Dining Room (we had Any Time Dining)

 

1970501_10152016495218857_1474413392_n.jpg

 

We wondered down to our room to drop off our carry-on gear and get a look at our room. We really liked the balcony...and I'm afraid I might have officially ruined any future cruise by this room.

 

10013768_10152020697623857_833471649_n.jpg

 

1972276_10152020697433857_1587994772_n.jpg

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My apologizes for not posting anything today...my good friend and cousin in law passed away last night after a short battle with cancer.

 

 

 

Plus sitting through a 6 hour training technical presentation today gave little time to type up any updates...but I'll start working on it

 

 

So sorry for your loss. Prayers up!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Embarking Day

 

 

 

So finally that day we all crave had arrived. Sadly the hotel shuttle didn't leave until 1145am...so somehow we had to kill about five hours. My toothbrush had won the battle over plaque and the revenge of a night filled with garlic and a mouthful of Listerine conquered the gum disease gingivitis...so what does one do with 4.5hrs remaining? If you guessed grab some breakfast and dirty up those pearly whites...you are right. The hotel breakfast is your typical lineup: waffle station, yogurt, scrambled powered eggs, cereal...you know the deal.

 

 

 

After some grub, we meandered across the street to Publix and grabbed a couple of last minute supplies. We had already packed a 12 pack of Dr. Pepper and two bottles of wine, so we didn't need much. Then on the way back we stopped next door at Starbucks for an overpriced coffee and tea...then it was back to the hotel where after a second battle with the enamel enemies, a weary battle had left me triumphant and tired. We grabbed a little cat nap then headed down stairs to meet up with the shuttle.

 

 

 

Again the shuttle was included in our hotel stay and the 12 person van was towing an adorable little U-Haul that we piled our luggage in. Sadly the van lacked any air conditioning...but thankfully it wasn't a long drive and we got our first glimpse of our home for the next week. She is very impressive and gives a good first impression.

 

 

 

1920446_10152016494978857_1214826747_n.jpg

 

 

 

541951_10152016495128857_2363601_n.jpg

 

 

 

So once gave the porter our bags and made our way to the terminal, we noticed a large number of people gathered outside, but thankfully they seemed content with wondering around outside...I couldn't understand their reasons but was glad they made it easier for us to get inside and started. It took a mere 10-15 minutes to get our passports and documents checked and get through security. Once upstairs it only took about 15 mins to get through the queue and get our S&S cards...the up the stairs to the customary 'Welcome Aboard' photo and across the gangway and we were on board by 1245pm. The process was as smooth as I remembered from our first cruise.

 

 

 

Once on board we were welcomed with a very nicely decorated atrium. I was pleased with how visually appealing the layout and decorations were. We only had the Carnival Valor to compare it too, but I really enjoyed the initial impression. We wondered Deck 3 and checked out the Sapphire Dining Room (we had Any Time Dining)

 

 

 

1970501_10152016495218857_1474413392_n.jpg

 

 

 

We wondered down to our room to drop off our carry-on gear and get a look at our room. We really liked the balcony...and I'm afraid I might have officially ruined any future cruise by this room.

 

 

 

10013768_10152020697623857_833471649_n.jpg

 

 

 

1972276_10152020697433857_1587994772_n.jpg

 

 

Was this a cove? I have not seen the low back chairs before.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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My condolences to you and your family. Haven't sail on the Breeze yet, so looking forward to your reviews and pics.

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