Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 by Peter Knego
After attending the ship’s gala naming ceremony in Miami, Peter Knego sets sail aboard Carnival Cruises’ latest, largest ship, the 130,000 gross ton CARNIVAL BREEZE on an eight night voyage to the Caribbean.
All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2012 unless otherwise noted.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Our balcony overlooked the Lanai, a wonderful walkway that is cantilevered from the sides of the ship directly above the lifeboats. Not only does the Lanai fully encircle the CARNIVAL BREEZE like a traditional promenade, it is festooned with overhanging Jacuzzis and al fresco eateries, including Carnival’s new Fat Jimmy’s C-Side Barbeque featuring grilled chicken breast, kielbasa, Italian sausage, and Fat Jimmy’s signature item, pulled pork sandwiches, along with traditional sides like baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw and mini-corn muffins.
My first stop was the Ocean Plaza on midships Deck 5 for a quick muffin and a fresh cappuccino that I could take to the press conference in the Limelight Lounge, the ship’s cabaret style showroom on aft Deck 5.
The Limelight seats 400 guests and is used for various functions and meetings by day. I particularly like the scoop chairs, which are reminiscent of some Eero Saarinen Executive-style chairs I have rescued from Alang.
At night, the Limelight is transformed into the CARNIVAL BREEZE’s bona fide comedy club Punchliners, featuring George Lopez-vetted acts that offer a variety of family friendly and adults-only shows.
I didn’t bring my camera for our feast at the Mandarin Wok in the Lido Marketplace on Deck 10 but will surely include some shots from our favorite eatery on the CARNIVAL BREEZE later in this series.
At 3:30, Cruise Director Brad Begovich (a fellow Croat — his parents are from Korcula) hosted the first Hasbro At Sea game show during our voyage. Teams of four enthusiastic guests were pulled from either side of the audience (blue to port and red to starboard) to participate. Aside from the sets and technology, which rival that of a broadcast television game show, I was impressed that the winners would take home some rather elaborate prizes culled from the Hasbro electronic games catalog.
On the way to the gym, I decided to roam the upper decks and managed to climb the water slide platform for a bird’s eye view of the ship. Glad I did, as it would be closed for the next two days due to brisk winds.
We all converged at the RedFrom Rum Bar near the pool at 7:00 PM for some rather fancy cocktails in the balmy breeze.
Monday, December 10, 2012
I spent the morning working in the cabin, then headed up to meet Lis at the Cuccina del Capitano, the CARNIVAL BREEZE’s 117-seat Italian eatery on Deck 11 overlooking the Lido Marketplace. For dinner, the place commands a modest cover of $12 per person for a massive, multi-course meal but for lunch, it is the setting for a splendid, no-charge pasta bar.
Basically, you just fill out a menu form and hand it off to the waiter who re appears moments later with the order.
In my case, it was a piping hot, al dente farfalle with pomodoro, sun dried tomatoes and eggplant with a Caesar salad and foccaccia bread. Carnival’s “does Italian” among the best of all the cruise lines, many thanks to its heritage of hiring Italian officers (some came directly from the Italia fleet in the 1970s) and building its ships at Fincantieri. The great Trieste-based ship historian Maurizio Eliseo contributed to the many beautiful vintage photos on display in Cuccina del Capitano, the only space in the Carnival fleet that pays homage to the line’s historic past.
And here are the chefs della Cuccina at work.
One thing I appreciate about sailing aboard mega ships is that they often challenge me to try new experiences. For instance, I’m the last person to normally don 3-D glasses and sit through a Disney-esque fantasy on screen. But on the CARNIVAL BREEZE, I tried out the new Carnival Thrill Theater and came away not only impressed with the facility and experience but the movie, “Polar Express”.
Admission for the Thrill Theater is $7.95 per show but a weekly pass for unlimited showings can be purchased for $14.00. Be ready for a few surprises as you take a “ride” in the Thrill Theater and don’t wear anything you wouldn’t mind getting a little misty.
Carnival’s steak houses have some of the best food afloat. Period. Fahrenheit 555 is the extra tariff steakhouse ($40 cover charge) on the BREEZE, a handsome space with indirect lighting, warm soft fittings and gold leaf pilasters that seats 69 guests.
Table settings are particularly elegant with Riedel stemware, pressed linens and custom chargers.
Various cuts are presented table-side for guests to select from. Orders are placed and then it all starts…
Two amuses bouches were offered, a beef carpaccio pyramid and the creamy potato leek soup, shown above.
I loved my heirloom beefsteak tomato and gorgonzola salad.
For my more carnivorous readers, I conclude the evening with a look at Lis’ filet mignon. “Melts in your mouth”, she cooed.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been to St. Thomas since my first visit aboard the BRITANIS in 1981. Normally, I get up early to witness arrival in this busiest of all Caribbean hubs but today, after a peek through the curtains, I ordained more sleep was mandatory. Long after most of our fellow guests had disembarked, I took advantage of the empty ship to begin my official documenting spree. One of several new venues on Deck 5 is the Bonsai Sushi, an a la carte eatery with offerings from a $2 miso soup to a $15 sushi “boat”.
Although Joe Farcus has basically left the scene, the Casino was somewhat reminiscent of his decor. During sea days, this space swarms with guests.
Topsides, the CARNIVAL BREEZE has just about everything a modern ship can offer. The coliseum-like terraces around the midships pool are the perfect setting for al fresco bars, sun loungers and Carnival’s “Dive-In” Theater, where movies and sporting events are broadcast under the sun and stars.
The Skycourse is a ropes area that meanders above the miniature golf course at the base of the funnel.
As I worked my way aft for a view over the Tides Pool and bar on Deck 10, there was the CARNIVAL LIBERTY, looking resplendent in the St. Thomas sunshine.
After lunch, we headed ashore in search of a rich cup of cappuccino and a strong wifi signal. It took a few starts and stops to find the Barefoot Buddha, where we spent the greater part of the afternoon loading photos and blog posts. When we emerged, I raced off to catch some photos of the two Carnival ships from the waterfront and got caught in a deluge that would rival any Gujarati monsoon.
Hopefully, it was worth risking the cameras. I might as well have swam back to the ship.
After dinner in Blush, “the singing maitre’d” Ken Byrne sang a couple of tunes to a cheering and napkin-waving crowd. He is actually quite gifted as well as being camera-friendly.
End of A Mighty BREEZE, Part Two
Special Thanks: Martin Cox, Jennifer de la Cruz, Vance Gulliksen, Lis Kemp