Welcome to our Carnival Breeze trip report! We cruised on the Carnival Breeze in July and had the most amazing week. We loved this ship, the fellow Texans on board and the ports of call we made. Because I chose not to use my phone or computer much during this cruise, you’re going to get a full rundown on our trip on the Carnival Breeze now. Have a read through my Carnival Breeze blog and see what we loved about this ship and the Western Caribbean itinerary we sailed!
We chose to cruise on the Carnival Breeze because it left from Galveston (the port near Houston, TX) which meant a much shorter, cheaper flight from the west coast than going all the way to Florida. The amazing water park on the ship sealed the deal for us when we were tossing up between the Breeze and Freedom which do alternating similar itineraries from Galveston. We also wanted to cruise with Carnival because this was our third cruise and we’d yet to try them out!
Our Carnival Breeze review will cover what we thought of cruising with Carnival for the first time, how the food was onboard and what we thought of the Carnival Breeze’s facilities and entertainment. When we looked at Carnival Breeze reviews before we chose this ship, we knew it would be a great fit for us because of the amenities on board and the style of this ship. We were more than impressed with how great our trip was. Carnival really are the fun cruise line!
What You'll Find in This Post
Carnival Breeze Review – This Ship Has Everything!
We were instantly wowed when we saw our ship in port. The Carnival Breeze is impressive in size! Much bigger than the previous cruise ships we have been on (Norwegian Star and RCL Adventure of the Seas). In fact it holds over 5000 passengers and crew when full, which is was on our sailing in the peak of the July summer holidays. The Breeze is a Dream-class ship so if you’ve been on Magic or Dream you’ll find it similar.
Embarkation at Galveston
Getting to Galveston cruise port from Houston was pretty easy. We booked a private transfer which was only slightly more than a shared shuttle. We arrived into Houston Bush airport (IAH) late the night before the cruise, spend the night at an airport hotel and traveled to the port at Galveston the next morning. If we’d taken the shuttle we would have had to backtrack to the airport to catch it so a private transfer worked best. It took just over an hour to reach the port of Galveston.
Embarkation was a long, slow process and it took us over an hour and a half to get on board the ship. Once on board, we hit the buffet which was a huge mistake as the lines were super long. It took us 45 minutes to get food and we only just managed to eat before we had to head to our muster station for a safety drill.
The safety drill was quick and painless and we were soon able to get out and explore our new home for the next seven nights and enjoy a fun sail away party!
Later in the evening the ship made a hard turn and started to head back towards Galveston! We were on the pool deck watching a movie and water swished out of the pool as we turned. Someone onboard was very ill and we had to return back towards Galveston for a rescue. A few hours later, when we were just about back to Galveston, a Coast Guard vessel came to the meet our ship and remove the ill passenger and take them back to land. This was all done while our ship was still at sea and in the dark of night. We got to view it all happening from our balcony stateroom. A bit of drama! We later heard that the passenger was on recuperating in hospital.
Our Stateroom – Spa Balcony
We chose a spa balcony stateroom (11235), our first time in a balcony room on a cruise, and we were not disappointed! The decor is lovely and light. The balcony was small but had enough room for a table and two chairs. It was so nice to be able to sit out and watch the waves, read a book or eat a midnight slice of pizza on the balcony. At night we could see lots of oil rigs lit up when we were close to Galveston.
Our room felt really spacious. We had a king bed, Hazel slept on a single sofa bed and Reuben slept in a bunk bed above. The bathroom was basic but fine. We did get extra nice towels and toiletries being in the spa stateroom. There was plenty of storage in our room. I like to put everything away as soon as we get into our cabin on a cruise so that we have as much space in our room as possible.
As a perk of the spa balcony stateroom, we had free access to the thermal spa suites on board. More on that in the spa section below!
Our Cruise Director – Schwartz!
Honestly, one of the best things about our cruise on the Carnival Breeze was the cruise director known simply as Schwartz. He was young, fun and energetic. Even boring daily announcements were fun with him!
Pools & Water Works
The pool and waterworks were a big reason we picked the Carnival Breeze for our vacation. There are two amazing waterslides on top of the ship, a splash park with some mini slides for smaller kids and a large swimming pool. The swimming pool had some shaded seating where you could dangle your feet in and watch while the kids swam which was really nice.
The waterslides were really busy on sea days. On port days we pretty much had them to ourselves after returning to the ship at lunchtime.
While we didn’t use the spa services during our trip (too expensive), we did have access to the whole thermal suite on board thanks to booking a spa stateroom. The thermal suite was a lovely way to unwind when the kids were off in the kids club. There was a thalassotherapy pool which is like a big hot tub with mineral water that left my skin silky smooth, an array of steam rooms and saunas, heated stone beds for relaxing on and a rainforest style aromatherapy shower.
It was definitely worth booking the spa room to gain access to the thermal suite! I actually didn’t need to visit any of the other hot tubs on board (there are quite a few) because the spa suite was so close to my room and indoors which meant shade. I feel like it would have been too hot to enjoy any of the outdoor hot tubs around the ship.
Entertainment on Board
One of the main things we love about cruising with kids is being able to go to shows, watch bands or do activities without worrying about our kids melting down and not wanting to participate. When you’re on a cruise and you haven’t paid for tickets for something, you feel like you can just pop in and watch a bit of a show or stay for a few dances when listening to a band, rather than staying for the whole thing.
We really enjoyed the musicians on board. A country music duo, a salsa duo and a electric violin trio were the main musical acts. We loved being able to have a bit of a dance before sitting down to dinner each night!
Disembarkation at Galveston
Disembarkation was really quick and easy. We chose to self carry our bags off the ship in order to get off as early as possible to catch our flight. Disembarkation times worked from the top level down so we were the second group to be called off in the morning. We were off and out into a taxi quickly, I would say 20 minutes max from when we were called, which is a lot faster than on previous cruises.
Carnival Breeze for Kids
One of the main reasons we love to cruise is because it’s such a great way to vacation with kids. We felt like we’d chosen a great ship for families. There were lots of other families on board as it was summer vacation time in the US. While this meant things were a little crowded and rowdy, it was more fun than being the only kids on board as with other cruises we’ve done.
The Kids’ Club
Reuben and Hazel were in separate kids’ clubs programs but their rooms were right next door to each other so we could pick up and drop off at the same time. The kids seemed satisfied with what was on offer at the kids club but, to be honest, they would still rather hang out with us I think!
Hazel, in the three to five year olds room, seemed to mostly do crafts, watch movies, read books and play games. Reuben, in the six to eight year olds room, mostly seemed to do games and structured activities led by their group leaders.
One of the BEST things about the kids’ club on the Carnival Breeze was the dinner time program. A section of the buffet was roped off for the kids club and we could drop the kids off at 6pm for dinner with the team and then head to dinner by ourselves. This was an absolute winner for us as parents because it meant we got to share a few quiet meals and the kids got to eat kid-friendly food in a more relaxed environment.
Seuss at Sea
We did the Seuss-a-palooza parade and live reading of the Cat in the Hat which was fun. We skipped the Green Eggs & Ham breakfast because there was a LOT of food coloring in that food.
5D Theater & Arcade
Our kids love arcade cames and 4D theater experiences so they were pretty stoked to find this on board. While there was an extra charge for the theater and arcade games it wasn’t much.
We went to a few family friendly shows on the Carnival Breeze. Having little kids with a shorter attention span means we never quite get through a whole show… but that’s OK! One of the reasons we love cruising is because we can just duck into a show for a short amount of time and not feel bad about wasting money on tickets. We watched the Motown show on board and enjoyed the dance party afterwards. We also watched a few magic shows.
Dining on Carnival Breeze
Main Dining Room
We had anytime dining during our sailing which worked for us because we like the flexibility to eat early with the kids or later on our own while they are in kids’ club. The food in the main dining room was good. It certainly wasn’t as amazing as the food on Royal Caribbean but it was better than I had expected.
I would have liked more options for dessert each night because that’s my favorite part of the meal. In fact, I only ordered dessert twice in the main dining room because the selection wasn’t great. The Carnival chocolate melting cake is top notch though!
Check out my friend Jo’s post on how not to gain weight on a cruise if you want some help minding what you eat on board.
We tried the “rare finds” meal one evening and it was frogs legs! Lobster night is also one you can’t miss in the main dining room and my lobster meal was delicious.
Sea Day brunch is offered in the main dining room on days when the ship is at sea. Food at the sea day brunch was good but not that kid friendly.
Farhenheit 555 – Specialty Steakhouse
Oh my gosh, just thinking about the meal we had at Farhenheit 555, the Breeze’s specialty steakhouse, makes my mouth water. On our second last evening on board we opted to dine in the steakhouse while the kids’ ate with the kids’ club. This was one of the best meal’s I’ve ever had anywhere, let alone on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean. Here’s what we ate:
Other Onboard Dining
There are lots of other dining options on board. Here are some of the Carnival Breeze food options we really loved during our cruise. In fact, we hardly ever ate at the buffet for breakfast or lunch because the other dining options were so good.
Guy’s Burger Joint on the lido deck was the place to get lunch on sea days or after coming back from port. The burgers were fantastic and the toppings were delicious.
The breakfast tacos at the Blue Iguana Cantina on the lido deck quickly became our favorite breakfast. In fact, we didn’t eat in the buffet from breakfast at all because these were so yummy!
The pizza from Pizza Pirate was available 24 hours a day so it became our go-to snack to enjoy, especially late at night on our balcony!
Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse was only open for a couple of hours over lunch on sea days and queues were always long but the food was really good.
In-Room Dining is another thing we love about cruising. While the in-room dining menu was quite limited, we often used it for the kids’ breakfast in our room or a lunch after we’d been out at a port. Offerings are simple – cereal, fruit, sandwiches, crisps and a few desserts but they always went down well with the kids.
Bars & Cafes
We didn’t buy a drinks package as we really wouldn’t have more than one or two drinks a day. I do love a good cocktail so we got to know quite a few of the bars around the ship. We almost always had a drink the bar while waiting for our table for dinner. It was lovely to have a drink and listen to the music, watching the kids dance. Because we had anytime dining we sometimes had to wait 10-15 minutes for a table at dinner.
The Plaza Cafe became a quick favourite of mine as they served Starbucks coffee at very reasonable prices. I was down every morning for an iced Caramel macchiato and was happy to see that they even offered organic soy milk!
The Alchemy Bar serves upgraded cocktails in a lovely classy setting. The fave a much nicer and stronger chocolate martini than the one served in the regular bar.
While we didn’t dine in The Redfrog Pub we did go several nights for drinks and the pub quiz, including one night where we won the pub quiz and a fishbowl margirita was our prize. The Redfrog was always a pretty quiet spot on the ship which we enjoyed either before or after dinner.
Itinerary & Ports (7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise)
One of the reasons we chose this sailing on the Carnival Breeze was the itinerary. Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cozumel all really appealed to us for this cruise because all three ports had good beaches near the port meaning we didn’t have to spend a tonne on excursions.
Our usual plan for port days is to eat breakfast and get off the ship early, enjoy the beach before the midday sun makes it too hot for our fair skin and then head back to the ship for lunch. We like to eat lunch on the ship during port days because it saves us having to spend money but also means we get the ship largely to ourselves as everyone is off on their all day excursions. The waterslides and pools are also much quieter on port days which is a huge bonus when you have kids who don’t like to wait in line!
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Montego Bay in Jamaica was our first stop on the Breeze. We were super excited to be in Jamaican and feel that Caribbean vibe. We weren’t disappointed! A few people mentioned to us that they didn’t like Montego Bay when they visited, didn’t feel safe, but that was not the case for us. We really enjoyed it.
We took a shuttle to Doctor’s Cave beach and paid to enter the beach there and rent an umbrella and two sun loungers. The beach was lovely but crowded, although this didn’t bother me as I like people watching. The water was so calm and warm and clear. We had a lot of fun swimming around. Lee “might” have bought a joint and smoked it. 😉
Once we’d had enough swimming we walked up the “hip strip” which is just a touristy drag of road with souvenir shops. I didn’t have much cash with me so we didn’t buy anything but we could have had Hazel’s hair braided which would have been nice. We walked past Margaritaville which is a popular spot for cruisers to hang for the day as they have a water slide into the ocean.
We stopped at the Pork Pit to try some authentic Jamaican jerk Pork which was delicious and definitely worth the stop. We only bought enough for a quick snack before heading back to the boat in a taxi.
For a full review of what we did in Montego Bay and to see more of our photos & videos, read this post. (Coming soon!)
We’ve never done an excursion run by the cruise line but we actually considered for this trip as we really wanted to go the stingray sandbar in Grand Cayman. I went to book it at the excursion desk but they didn’t take kids under five years old which would have counted Hazel out.
We decided to wing it and find a tour once we arrived in port which worked. We stepped off the tender boat, onto the port and immediately saw a sign for a stingray sandbar tour that was leaving immediately. It was a bit cheaper than the cruise line’s excursion and they didn’t charge us for Hazel. It cost us $125 total for the tour and we were on the bus and out of the port in about 30 mins.
We were bussed to the other side of the island and onto a boat where we traveled out to the stingray sandbar. It wasn’t long before we reached this beautiful sandbar, got in the water up to our necks and were surrounded by stingrays. They swam under the kids and around us. It was amazing! One even “hugged” me coming right up and running itself over my shoulders. Needless to say, that gave me a real fright!
For a full review of our stingray tour in Grand Cayman and to see more of our photos & videos, read this post. (Coming soon!)
We have been to Cozumel before on the Norwegian Star but it was raining on our day in port and we had a sick kid so didn’t do much other than walk around the port. We really wanted to go back to Cozumel and see it properly!
We took a taxi to Paradise Beach which is a paid beach club with lots of inflatables in the ocean, a swimming pool and restaurant. Entrance was a bit expensive in my opinion but honestly cheaper than doing a cruise excursion and we really enjoyed it. We explored the water play area, swam in the pool, ate ceviche and then headed back to the ship when some extremely loud thunder and heavy rain rolled in.
We were really surprised when we got back to the ship to find it hadn’t even rained there! We spent a little bit of time shopping for souvenirs in the port before heading back to the boat and spending the afternoon on board at the onboard waterslide and pool. The were practically empty because everyone was still out on their excursions so it was a win for us.
For a full review of Paradise Beach in Cozumel and to see more of our photos & videos, read this post. (Coming soon!)
Celebrating a Birthday on Board the Carnival Breeze
Our son Reuben turned seven on board the Carnival Breeze on our last sea day. We let staff in the kids’ club know about his upcoming birthday when we registered on our first day. We also clued our dining room staff in on the day.
We bought our own presents along for him to open on the morning of his birthday and we also took him to the onboard candy store to pick whatever he wanted on his birthday.
Reuben had a small celebration at the kids’ club and received a birthday hat which he proudly wore around the ship, prompting fellow passengers and crew to sing happy birthday to him throughout the day. It was really fun!
In the main dining room, our wait staff arranged a personal birthday cake with candles and came out singing happy birthday to him. Other dining room patrons nearby joined in with the song which was fun.
Impressions from a First-Time Carnival Cruiser
We’ve cruised with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian in the past and were frankly a bit hesitant to book with Carnival for the first time. We had heard Carnival’s food wasn’t as good (which is a big reason why we cruise!) and that it their boats were a bit tacky. But seriously, not on board the Breeze!
Cruising on Carnival was honestly so fun. The attitude of the other passengers, the spirit of the staff, hilarious announcements from our cruise director Schwartz, even a joke the on signage when someone has pooped in the pool… there was an element of fun and humor was everywhere on board the Breeze. We really enjoyed the Carnival cruise attitude.
Carnival Breeze Review – Our Overall Opinion
We loved the Carnival Breeze! I would actually go out of my way to sail on this ship again as it was a really great week. Cruising from Galveston added an extra element to our cruise and we really enjoyed the company of all the Texans on board.
Our spa balcony stateroom was definitely worth the extra money and I wish I’d had more time to use the spa facilities on board. having a balcony cabin for the first time made me realise why people spend the extra money on them. I loved sitting out there reading or watching the waves.
While the food in the main dining room was a bit of a notch down from that of our other cruising experiences on RCL and NCL, it was still good enough to enjoy every night. Speciality dining is a much better choice on the Breeze and I wish I’d had a second meal at the steakhouse or enjoyed another lunch at the smokehouse. The burgers and tacos on the Lido alone are definitely a reason to chose cruising on the Breeze or with Carnival again.
In terms of ports, we were very happy with the itinerary we choose for our Carnival Breeze cruise. Jamaica, the Caymans and Cozumel were all fun ports with great beaches. The alternate itinerary for the same cruise a week later didn’t look as interesting to me when I was booking this cruise but I would consider it for a future cruise.
Overall, our week on the Breeze was amazing! I would happily cruise on Carnival again. In fact, it might be my new favorite cruise line.
Wondering what to pack for a Carnival Cruise?
Check out my Carnival cruise packing list and I’ll show you exactly what to pack for a Carnival cruise, what to wear on formal night and all the little bits and pieces you need to bring to make your cruise the best vacation yet! Also read this post to see how to avoid getting seasick on a cruise.