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It’s finally here. Today I embarked on a 14-night cruise aboard the Carnival Breeze. This is one of the cruise line’s signature “Carnival Journeys” sailings, which will have eight ports of call and five sea days.
Here’s our itinerary
Day 1: Port Canaveral
Day 2: Fun Day at Sea
Day 3: Fun Day at Sea
Day 4: St. Thomas
Day 5: Antigua
Day 6: St. Lucia
Day 7: Grenada
Day 8: Barbados
Day 9: Fun Day at Sea
Day 10: St. Maarten
Day 11: Tortola
Day 12: San Juan
Day 13: Fun Day at Sea
Day 14: Fun Day at Sea
Day 15: Port Canaveral
Why I Booked This Cruise
My buddy had some vacation time he needed to burn and really wanted to cruise. I told him to pick a cruise, any length, and we’d go. He found this 14-night Journeys cruise, and with us living in Jacksonville, Florida, it was perfect. The drive to Port Canaveral is only two hours, so no flight was needed.
My thought was to book the cheapest room possible, that’s a 1A category on Carnival (interior bunk bedroom). However, James hadn’t taken a vacation all year and wanted to splurge for a balcony, so we booked an assigned balcony cabin. The price wasn’t that bad, but I’m glad we booked when we did. The final price for the room for two people was $2,424 (taxes included).
A month after we booked, in July, the rate jumped up by about one-thousand
Arriving in Port Canaveral
When I printed the embarkation paperwork for the cruise, I noticed the final boarding time was 5 p.m. – two hours later than normal. Instead of leaving Jacksonville at 9 a.m., the late boarding gave us more time to button up loose ends. We ended up leaving around 11 a.m. We got to the pier around 2 p.m. after a stop by the ATM to get some cash out for the cruise.
For parking we used Park Port Canaveral. It was $100 cheaper than Port Canaveral parking, and I highly suggest using them. They have a secured lot that is patrolled and gated, with people there every day. Also, there is a ship in port so it’s not like you’re having to worry about your car sitting there for 14-nights. You can also see the ships from their parking lot.
Before getting to Park Port Canaveral, we dropped our bags off. That is highly recommended. If you’re using an off-site parking lot, go to the pier and drop your bags off first so you don’t have to deal with it at the off-site lot. This way, the only thing you’ll need to do once you park is board the shuttle and make your way to the pier!
In the past when cruising with a group of people, I would drop them and their bags off before going to the off-site lot. It’s much easier. Otherwise, it’s like herding cats.
Boarding Carnival Breeze
Lately, I’ve been boarding my cruises later on in the afternoon instead of trying to be the first on the ship. When you board later, there is no one in the embarkation line at the terminal. We literally walked through everyone after our passport check and were free to board – no stopping at the check-in desk.
To be clear, you have to do an online check-in with your credit card and print your documents to be able to keep going. Otherwise, you have to stop at the check-in desk to sort them out.
On The Ship At Last!
Boarding Carnival Breeze was like coming home. The last time I sailed this ship was in 2012 on the inaugural 12-night sailing through the Mediterranean. I’ve been back on her a couple times for a video project and a wine event, that’s all.
As soon as we walked onboard, we saw some familiar faces like Daniel at the Alchemy Bar, and Brand Ambassador John Heald. They had a big banner hanging in the main atrium that said Carnival Journeys. To be honest, I kept forgetting it was a Journeys sailing, but it didn’t take long to remember again with all the signage, and guests wearing Journeys shirts from past cruises.
First Stop: Guy’s Burger Joint
As tradition would have it, the first stop was to grab a Plain Jane (with cheese) burger at Guy’s Burger Joint. For the folks who are new to the site, Guy’s burgers are my kryptonite. When the venue first launched in 2011, I had the opportunity to check out the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades on Carnival Liberty for a seven-day cruise.
I ended up eating 11 burgers during the cruise and also ended up gaining nine pounds from it. If done right, you’re eating at around 2,000 calories a burger.
Our stateroom is a balcony stateroom on deck eight aft (not an aft extended balcony, I wish!).
Our bags were delivered pretty quickly and after lunch, they were waiting for us. That is a perk if you have “Faster to the Fun” or have platinum or gold status with Carnival.
We watched the deck party for a little while after the muster drill, then went to the stateroom to watch sail-away from the balcony. We are on the port side, so we were looking north when sailing out. We got to see the SpaceX barge that the rocket lands on once the satellite is launched. The precision is wild.
Dinner in Main Dining Room
For this cruise, we have late dining, and boy was it a good choice. Everyone on the cruise is doing early dining or anytime dining. The dining room was half-full last night, and I thought maybe it was because we left port at 6 p.m. and people were tired from traveling – a staff member confirmed my thoughts.
Our meal tonight included:
- Cured salmon and green salad
- Grilled salmon with broccoli
- Low calorie strawberry cake (not the official name)
The dinner and service in the main dining room were both spot-on. Impressive to me considering the last few Carnival sailings have been subpar, to say the least.
After dinner, we went to check out the Welcome Aboard show with Cruise Director Schwartz. It was a typical Welcome Aboard show that consisted of welcoming you to your cruise, a song and dance, the Playlist Productions team, and a lot of hokey cruise one-liners.
It was great, though some segments lasted a little longer than I would’ve liked. I’d much rather have attended the comedy show instead of the Welcome Aboard show.
Now, it’s lights out. Tomorrow is our first sea day, followed by another. Our first port of call will be St. Thomas on Tuesday and I can’t wait.
At the end of the trip reports I will answer any question you’d like to send in. You can ask it on social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s question: How has the muster drill changed over the years? Do we still have to stand outside?
The muster drill has changed dramatically over the years. For example, you used to have to bring your life jackets to the drill, and that in itself was a mess with people tripping over the straps. That was probably the event that led to them saying you don’t need to bring your jacket to drill anymore.
Also, there is an electronic attendance system now whereas a few years ago every stateroom had to be checked off on a paper manifest.
Depending on the ship, you may have to muster outside by the lifeboats or inside. On Carnival Breeze, it’s in a designated area. Ours was on the upper deck of the aft dining room.
Until tomorrow, good night!