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BREEZING through the Season 12/22-12/29/18 Photos, FunTimes, Menus, and More

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Celebrating the Season Caribbean Style on the Carnival Breeze 12/22-12/29/18

 

Ports of Call: Costa Maya, Belize, Mahogany Bay, Cozumel

 

Hi everyone, it’s me HP back with another review. Having had such a blast sailing with my kids on the Carnival Vista I was so excited to book another Family Carnival cruise. 

Before I dive right in let me pause here and get all the necessary introductions and disclaimers out of the way:

As you can tell from my username I am from California, Los Angeles to be exact. Joining me on this sailing were my two children. My son Langston is 15 and my daughter Ellington is 6 going on 46. If you happened to have read my last review you may remember my kids are total opposites. My son Langston is a laid back, mellow-yellow, go with the flow type of kid. My daughter Ellington is a F.I.R.E.C.R.A.C.K.E.R., full of sugar and spice, sassy and sweet and oh so unpredictable. 

 

This review is my honest and candid take of “OUR” experience of the aboard the Carnival Breeze. You can expect to hear the good, bad and the ugly, sprinkled with the absolutely hilarious and the magic of the holiday season. It is my hope that this will provide an informative and entertaining peek into a 7 Day Christmas voyage on Carnival Breeze.  Please… please… please keep in mind that this is my opinion of which of course is subjective.  I will also mention a few prices so that 1st-time cruisers will have an idea of what to expect. 

Sit back and relax grab a cup of coffee, pour yourself a spot of tea, or grab a glass of wine, if you please.

The seatbelt sign will remain on because spoiler alert:  This is going to be a bumpy ride.

 

Booking/Flight/ Pre-Hotel Stay:

 

The moment I stepped off the Vista back in April 2017 I was itching to book another family cruise. In fact, I sat in the airport on our way home looking at sailings.  I remained in touch with several individuals from Vista’s FB group.  We tried our best to try and sail together once more before the end of 2017, but it just would not work out.  The Carnival Sunshine was looking mighty nice.  I had my eye on the 12/15 Sunshine sailing from Port Canaveral. 

Just as I was about to hit the pay now button, something told me to double check the winter school holiday schedule. Good thing I checked. As it turned out the kids were not out of school until 12/20. Had I booked the Sunshine my son who is in 10th grade would have missed finals.  Ugggh a Christmas cruise would be double the price.

So, the challenge was to find a sailing after 12/20 at a reasonable price. I stumbled across the Breeze, checked the rates and it was full steam ahead.  

 

I booked online via carnival.com. I opted for a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom on Deck 1.  Yes, you got that right, Deck 1. The lowest of the low, the bottom of the barrel, El Cheapo Depot right? Wrong. Deck one has so much to offer, especially for families with small children.

On some ships Deck 1 is where you can find the Family Harbor Staterooms. Note the Breeze does not have the Family Harbor Staterooms.

Deck 1 also provides easy quick stair access to the Atrium on Deck 3. Deck 1 also affords your quick access to Deck 0, which is where you go to get off the ship while in port. Normally when in port access to the stairs on deck one is roped off and a staff member stands watch so that individuals cannot walk down the stairs to Deck 0 until the ship is cleared for debarkation.

 

If your cabin is on Deck 1, when you exit your room you a are on the other side of the rope (opposite of the waiting crowd) and the staff member will usually let you walk down to deck 0 before anyone else. This comes in handy when you have a non-Carnival excursion and want to catch the 1st tender or get to your excursion check-in point quickly.

I personally love Deck 1 since Deluxe Ocean View staterooms on this deck have 2 bathrooms, YES 2 BATHROOMS! One bath has the standard sink, shower, and toilet. The other bathroom has a BATHTUB/Shower, and sink. This comes in handy when trying to get a family ready all at the same time. It also offers a place for me to park Ellington in the bathtub with a few toys so that I can have a few drama-free minutes to myself.   

My original price for 3 passengers (past guest) in a Deluxe Ocean View on the Breeze 12/22-29/2018 was $2,855.31. I kept a close eye on my booking and was able to get a price adjustment bringing my total to $2,768.31 with $50.00 in onboard credit.

 

Flight
Once again we used good ‘ole Spirit Airlines. This time we had a non-stop red-eye landing in Orlando at 5:45 am. Say what you will about Spirit, yet I have had no problems thus far. I’ve read all the negative reviews about spirit and was proactive in making sure I didn’t get nickeled and dimed. I paid for our checked bags online ahead of time. I packed reusable water bottles and snacks in my carryon backpack since Spirit charges for everything including water. Once we passed TSA security, I purchased a large bottle of water and poured it into our water bottles and BOOM we were ready to roll. 

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I’m looking forward to your review. I just switched our Christmas/25th Anniversary Cruise for next year from the Pride to the Breeze. I took a $100 hit on each of our 3 cabins making the switch but my husband and I have been on Pride and Breeze before and thought our kids would like the Breeze more. Can’t wait to hear your take!

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We landed in Orlando at 5:45AM, we had a 3 1/2-hour wait for our transportation to arrive. When booking our flights and transportation I failed to confirm the time that the transportation company starts running for the day. In this case it started running at 9:30AM  We used Contrans to drive us from the Orlando airport to our hotel in Cocoa Beach(which is adjacent to Port Canaveral), I'd spoken with someone from Contrans over the phone a week prior to our arrival  and  confirmed the price of $20.00 per person and was told to book online. I booked online via my phone.

 

When booking you are required to pay upfront which I did. My credit card was charged $75.00.  I was a little taken since the site said and the person I spoke to over the phone said $20.00 per person which would have been $60.00.Granted it was only $15.00 additional dollars it isn't a good look, in terms of honest/transparent business practice. 

 

The Orlando airport is divided into 2 sides A & B. Our luggage carousel was on side A and I was told by an airport worker that our ground transportation was on side B. We got down to side B and sat a bit. It was like a ghost town. No worries I thought since it was still early in the morning.  After about an hour or so I asked a worker and was told we need to be on Side A. We trekked back to side A only to be told we need to be on side B. 

 

I gave up. We found seats near the food court. I purchased breakfast (Chick-Fil-A). I then stretched out on one of the sofas, completely wrapped in a blanket. I slept for about 2 hours. The kids occupied themselves on their Ipads.  We eventually found the correct side (I honestly can’t remember if it was side A or B at this point. 

 

In my confirmation email from Contrans, I was only given a parking stall number  B 25 it would have been helpful if they would have also told me the correct side.  

 

Eventually, a woman with a walkie-talkie found us and said the van would be around shortly. The van pulled in and just as the driver was loading our luggage it began to pour down rain.  

 

Finally, we were on our way to our hotel in Cocoa Beach. The ride was a little under an hour. We dropped off a few passengers at hotels in the area before arriving at our hotel. 
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I booked the Quality Inn and Suites for $179.00. I can admit I did not expect for this hotel to be as nice as it was. When booking over the phone I asked for a room on the 2nd floor since it was one of those hotels where the doors open directly outside. By being on the 2nd floor you are not disturbed by car headlights pulling in at nite. The lobby of the hotel was decorated for Christmas with a really nice tree, there was coffee and lemon water and a business center with computers, printer, and fax also in the lobby. I was given our room key, map to our room, a printout of the time that we were to be picked up by the shuttle, and a ticket for breakfast. 

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The grounds were nice and clean. There was a pool, Jacuzzi, game room, laundry room, and vending machines. 

Thankfully, was an elevator to the second floor. As it turns out the room was a 1-bedroom suite. There was a small kitchenette complete with a sink, microwave, dishes, dish soap, utensils, a corkscrew, dishtowels, sofa with a pull-out couch in the Living room, as well as a desk, dresser, and TV. 

 

The bathroom was clean and well appointed. There were 2 small closets, one with an ironing board, iron, luggage rack, and safe. There was a queen-sized bed in the bedroom dresser and TV. The bedroom also had a door leading to a small patio that overlooked the ocean, with a small table and 2 chairs. I must admit it was much more than what I expected.

 

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There is a strip mall across the street which is very convenient if you flew in and did not rent a car.  You will find a MC Donald’s, Winn Dixie grocery store, Beals' Outlet, Walgreen's and more. There is also an Ihop within walking distance and a Don Ron’s surf shop and Starbucks next door to the hotel.  It seemed that all of the Cocoa Beach hotels are along this one road(Atlantic Avenue). We walked across the street to the Winn Dixie.  I purchased 1 case of Dr. Pepper and 1 can of Minute Maid Fruit Juice(Minute Maid also comes in cans), a family chicken meal and a bottle of wine. 

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The kids and I walked to the beach which was only a few yards from the rear of the hotel. It was cold and windy. We made it back to the room just as it started to pour down rain.  Not sure what it was but I didn’t feel like myself.  The food I’d purchased did not taste good to me at all however the kids said it was fine, with the exception of the sides. I took a hot shower tuned the heater on full blast and climbed into bed at 3PM. I watch TV for a short while and ended up sleeping until the next morning. At some point, my daughter climbed into bed with me and went to sleep early as well.

 

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View of beach from my room:

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I woke up somewhat rested and we got showered, dressed, and packed up. We were running behind, or so I thought. The kids grabbed breakfast and I checked in for the shuttle. As it turned out we were early… WHOO HOOO a true 1st for me I am always late.  I needed COOOOOOOFFEE quick fast and in a hurry. The breakfast was the standard hotel free breakfast fare. The breakfast area was very busy which was odd since the hotel felt like a ghost town when we checked in.  Once I got coffee running through my veins, I was morphed from a grumpy old goat back into a decent human being. The lobby was abuzz with cruisers waiting for the shuttle. 

 

Each time to lobby doors would open freezing wind would blow in. Burr I will never forget to pack warm clothing and coast again no matter the destination. My daughter was the only one of us that had a jacket, and it was a thin one at that.  

 

 

 

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For some reason, I did not feel the typical pre-cruise excitement. We boarded the shuttle and off we went. After pulling into the port and we were greeted by a port worker who told us to make sure our luggage tags were on our bags and said how much tips were appreciated. I hate when people remind you to tip. I always tip and was planning to tip the porters anyhow, in fact, I already had the money in hand. The porter guy's speech felt somewhat passive aggressive and it was obvious a few passengers in the crowd were embarrassed.

 

It was now around 9:30AM  we waited outside in line until the port terminal doors opened at 10:00AM. It was about 40 degrees and windy. It was unbearably cold.  Again my daughter was the only one with a jacket. However, I remembered I'd packed her beach towel in her backpack. I wrapped her up in her beach towel and tried to make the best of it. 30 minutes seemed like hours. We had FTTF(Faster to the Fun, which I will never sail without. It is the best $89.95 I've ever spent).

 

There were only 7 or so people ahead of us in the FTTF /Priority line.  Once the doors opened we were checked in and seated in less than 5 minutes. My bottle of wine and cases of soda were in my carry-on and I had no problems with security.  I chatted with people in our FTTF seating section.  Shortly after  people from our FB group began to arrive. They posted the location of their seating zones, and I walked around to meet a few of them.  

 

Luggage Trailers/Porters are in the orange and yellow vests:

 

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Regular Line:

 

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FTTF/Priority Line

 

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Security Screening Area:

 

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Pre-Boarding Guest Check-In Area. Notice how empty it is. We were indeed the first group of guest to arrive.

 

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Walking down the gangway

 

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Finally Stepping Foot on The Breeze

 

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1st Photo in front of the Christmas Tree in the Atrium

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The only elevators that were in operation upon boarding were marked with signs that said, "Lunch Express" these elevators would only go to floors 5 and 10.  The lunch option on Deck 5 was Guy's Pig and Anchor and on Deck 10 the Lido Buffet. All other elevators were inoperable for guest instead they were being used by staff to transport luggage.

 

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Since we had FTTF our room would be ready as soon as we boarded. We walked down the stairs to Deck 1 and opened the heavy hallway doors.  There are signs on each side of the hallways that tells you what side the odd and even rooms are on.  As expected our room keys were in our mailbox.

 

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Ellington excitedly declared she would be the 1st to open the room door using her key card.  

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Ta Da.....

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Bath 1 w/ tub and sink

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Bath 2 w/Shower, Sink, and Toilet

 

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Posted (edited)

There was plenty of closet space and hangers, 3 closets to be exact.  There was also a 4th closet with shelves and a safe. 

 

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Our FTTF welcome letter and Funtimes were on the desk. The letter outlines the perks associated with having FTTF:

 

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After taking a few pictures of the room and dropping off our carry-on items we headed up to Guy's Pig and Anchor on Deck 5 for lunch. 

 

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For lunch I opted for the chicken, brisket, baked beans, Coleslaw, and mac-n-cheese.  Similar to our experience on the Vista the food was tasty yet cold. Note, they did not serve greens on embarkation day.

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After lunch we walked around and explored the ship. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Californiacruizers

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That’s weird about your Contrans shuttle reservation. We’ve used them and you don’t pay in advance to reserve. You fill out an online request and then they send you a confirmation email that you have to reply to and that confirms your reservation. You pay the $20 pp when they pick you up. Maybe you used a third person to make the reservation and that would explain the extra $15?

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I booked directly on contrans.com via my mobile device. In response they sent me an email which contained a link, once I clicked the link I was directed to pay the invoice online. 

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Following! What an adorable family! We're thinking of a family cruise next Christmas so looking forward to reading about your experience. 

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Thank you for the review!  We sail on the Breeze in April and I booked a room at this Quality Suites so it was nice to hear that it was clean.   Love the pix!

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After lunch, we walked around the ship. We ended up in Camp Ocean. There were two staff members with handheld devices registering kids as they came in with their parents. Granted I registered Ellington up online upon booking, a staff member was able to look up information that I submitted online and asked about allergies.  Since Ellington was now 6 she was now apart of the stingrays which is for children 6-8.

 

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The Kids were warned to be on the lookout for the Grinch

 

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Since we had FTTF Ellington would have been the pool by now however the weather in Port Canaveral was unseasonably cold. Now that pool time was out of the question we walked around the ship to kill time until the muster drill. I tried my best to snap photos as we wandered.  

 

 

Aft Pool 

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The Sea Food Shack is located at the very back of the ship near the Aft Pool area

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Unlike the other specialty restaurant's the seafood is sold at market price.  We did not try the seafood shack on the Breeze. However, tried it on the Vista and 2lbs of crab legs and 2lbs of shrimp cost me $54.00. I have to say it was the freshest I've tasted so far. Many many people rave about the Lobster Roll. 

 

It was almost time for the muster drill so we ran to the room to get our leis for the sail away party which is held out on the lido deck following the drill. 

 

My son Langston was too cool to wear a lei 🙂 

 

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However, my daughter Ellington was right on board

 

 

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Our muster station was B3 we were instructed to head to the Sapphire dining room for the drill.  A staff member scanned each person's sign and sail card as we entered. Children were given wrist bands which they were to keep on for the duration of the trip, each wrist band was marked with the child's muster station. Note in the event of emergency children would be taken to their assigned muster station and reunited with their parents. 

 

 

 

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Let's get this party started...

 

Cruise Director Donkey hosted the sail away party. I hung out near Blue Iguana wearing my lei. Before long members of the FB group began to arrive and we greeted each other. A few of us attempted the usual cruise line dances.  I couldn't wait to show off my moves. Since I have no rhythm I vowed after the Vista cruise,  to learn all the cruise line dances. Using Youtube my daughter and I attempted to master the "Wobble Baby", "Electric Slide", "Nay-Nay", and "Cupid Shuffle". These are songs/line dances that are played over and over all week.  I am sure we looked like were having convulsions in comparison to others.  Thing One and Thing Two made an appearance at the sail away party. 

 

Ellington spinning around like a madwoman which is her version of dancing no matter the song. 

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Thing One and Thing Two

 

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The sail away part seemed shortlived perhaps because it was cold outside.  I wanted to get changed and have an early dinner in order to catch the Welcome Aboard Show.  We had YTD(your time dining) and tonight was cruise casual.

 

We changed for dinner.  In case you are reading this as a 1st cruise and are wondering what to wear on cruise casual nites: My son Langston wore a polo shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes. I wore and a skirt, blouse and wedge sandals, and my daughter Ellington wore a dress. We were casual yet comfortable.  

 

We checked in for dinner on deck 3 at the Sapphire restaurant and were seated right away near a window. I looked around and it was a ghost town. There were only 3 or 4 other tables occupied at the time. 

 

 

The ship was rocking and rolling. If you are prone to seasickness this was not a good night for you. 

 

 

The menu was the EXACT SAME AS THE MENU ON THE VISTA 8 MONTHS AGO!!! I ended up ordering the same meal that I'd had on the Vista;  fried calamari as an appetizer, the skirt steak with a baked potato, Caesar salad and chocolate melting cake for dessert. Langton ordered the quesadilla as an appetizer, blackened salmon, and chocolate melting cake. Ellington had a fruit plate as an appetizer,  spaghetti carbonara. Instead of ordering soft drinks brought along flavor packets so that we could drink as much water as possible.  Dinner service was about an hour. 

 

Fried Calamari

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Quesadilla

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Spaghetti Carbonara

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Blackened Salmon

 

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Flat Ironed Steak

 

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My Birthday was a week prior the waitstaff surprised me and present this birthday cake, they also asked everyone seated in our area to sing happy birthday to me. It was very cute and kind of them.

 

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After dinner, we spotted this kind gentleman who lives as Santa Claus 365 days of the year.  He and his wife cruise every Christmas, "bringing joy to all both young and old".

 

He sat in the Atrium each nite taking pictures with everyone while his wife handed out candy canes and lumps of coal if you were naughty. We were able to take lots of photos with him throughout the week and my daughter would give him the rundown of her EXTENSIVE Christmas list each time she saw him. Santa was cruise casual each nite, he appeared in full Santa Dress Up on Christmas Evening. 

 

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Ellington and her list of demands

 

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Ellington receives a candy cane and a lump of coal since she is full of sugar and SPICE.

 

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