Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 by Peter Knego
Peter Knego wraps up his Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival Cruises’ latest, largest ship, the 130,000 gross ton CARNIVAL BREEZE.
All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2012 unless otherwise noted.
Friday, December 14, 2012
It would be a lovely, very low key day to mostly heal and and enjoy the sea from our Deck 6 stateroom window. I managed to get out of the cabin for another spicy go at the Tandoori in the Lido Marketplace (of all the BREEZE cuisine in the eatery, this is the one the ship’s officers and staff seem to be most fond of — always a good sign).
Skillfully working his way around my unpredictable hours and “down” time, our cabin steward Edmund could not have been kinder and more helpful. Whenever I did emerge from 6412, probably looking like something the cat dragged in, he was almost always waiting with a bit of good cheer. And, as far as accommodating requests for ridiculous amounts of pillows and switching duvets for cooler traditional blankets, providing extra daily programs, all I had to do was ask. The BREEZE has a remarkable staff and crew that are courteous and efficient –well beyond any pre-conceived mega ship expectations. Kudos to Hotel Manager Pierre Camilleri and his team for maintaining such high standards in challenging times.
Earlier in the week at the ship’s Cuccina del Capitano Italian restaurant, I noticed a photo of a very young Captain Vincenzo Alcaras with his father, who was hotel director on board the long-since-departed SITMAR FAIRWIND. As it turns out, the father of CARNIVAL BREEZE’s captain enjoyed a long sea-going career that took him from Incres Line’s VICTORIA in 1961 to Sitmar in 1973, where he stayed until that line was bought by Princess in the late 1980s. With ships clearly in his blood, the young Captain studied at the Pozzallo Maritime Academy in Sicily, then joined the FAIRWIND as a junior officer, ultimately working his way into the Princess fleet, then moved over to Carnival to work aboard the CELEBRATION in 1996. Captain Alcaras is not only a skilled navigation officer but an avid maritime collector and a fan of the works of Trieste-based author Maurizio Eliseo.
After our visit, I was granted permission to visit the fo’c'sle for a shot of the bell…
…and, in perfect lighting, the “face” of the BREEZE.
While I was at it, I dangled the gear through a small opening in the hawser for a view of the bulb cutting through an extraordinarily blue sea before heading back to 6412 for a cat nap.
At 5:30 that evening, as the sun began to set over the Caribbean, I was honored to be Paul Lasley and Elizabeth Harryman’s guest for an upcoming podcast at ontravel.com.
The gold standard, or, better yet, the Lunt and Fontanne of travel journalists, Paul Lasley and Elizabeth Harryman of ontravel.com reach an audience of several million people each month and have covered travel for network television, from NBC’s Today Show to local TV such as KTLA 5 in Los Angeles. They have written travel features for major national and regional magazines along with a regular syndicated column on travel as well as dining for several major daily newspapers and Elizabeth is the travel editor for AAA’s Westways magazine.
Another very low key evening would pass but not without our attending the early performance of “The Brits”, an opus production number featuring dazzling backdrops, anime avatars of the cast and a playlist of nostalgic nuggets from Dusty Springfield to the Kinks and the Fab Four.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
The irony of being able to do so little on a ship filled with non-stop activities! Still a bit knocked out, I did manage to join Lis for a final go at the Mandarin Wok and a low-impact stroll around the Lanai, then hung on deck as our giant white ship picked up the pilot, spun around to back into Nassau, reassessed (possibly due to challenging winds and tides), then pirouetted back around to head in bow-first.
We would be joining and systematically dwarfing the now-classic CARNIVAL FASCINATION, CARNIVAL IMAGINATION and MONARCH OF THE SEAS, all of which were among the world’s largest ships at the time of their 1990s debuts.
I had a perfect aerial 3/4 bow view of the CARNIVAL FASCINATION as the BREEZE slid in next to her. The fourth in the eight member, 70,000 gt FANTASY Class of ships, she was built in 1994 as FASCINATION. In 2007, she became CARNIVAL FASCINATION and in 2006, she was fitted with balconies for 98 of her midships and aft cabins.
There was not much energy but plenty of time to take a few remaining ship photos, then pack.
Just after dark, as our last passengers were returning to the ship, the CARNIVAL FASCINATION released her lines and saluted us before sliding into a rainy night.
We soon followed suit, leaving Nassau to the IMAGINATION and MONARCH.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
There we were, after eight short days, back in Miami and prepping for a day of freeways, airports and fast food. Disembarkation was all-too-efficient and easy but the BREEZE had to get ready for a whole new set of revelers.
End of A Mighty BREEZE, Part Four
Special Thanks: Pierre Camilleri, Martin Cox, Jennifer de la Cruz, Vance Gulliksen, Lis Kemp, Lanie Morgenstern