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Old June 30th, 2012, 07:36 AM
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Day 3 ½ - Carnival Breeze - A Lot of Ship To Talk About

Good Morning (here in Civitavecchia). I’m out on deck, having slept in this morning. I’ve had a bit of breakfast, and will now talk about some “ship things” which hopefully future Carnival Breeze passengers will find helpful.
We have a lot to talk about, so let’s start with a nice always controversial subject; smoking policies on the ship.

Let’s state up front - I am a smoker. So let’s begin giving me a “slap up-side the head”, tie my ankles together with a tight knot, tie the other end of the rope to a railing, and toss me overboard , so I dangle over the edge of the ship, or hanging from the top of the Atrium.

Now that disclaimer is out of the way, I’ll explain where smokers ARE allowed to smoke, where they are NOT allowed to smoke, and as a result, some areas of the ship NON-smokers will want to avoid.

The interior of ALL cabins has been designated NON-smoking. Smoking IS permitted on cabins with private balconies - with the EXCEPTION of Spa Cabins.

Cigar and pipe smoking is allowed on the private balconies as well.

The ONLY interior areas where smoking is allowed is a section of the casino bar (ONLY AT the bar), and some of the table games and slot machines in the casino. Other than that location, the only other interior space where smoking is allowed is in the night club, when it’s open.

On the exterior of the ship… On Deck 5, Promenade Deck, including outdoor seating and patio areas from bars and restaurants along the port side of the deck smoking IS allowed. For smokers, there’s some really nice, comfortable seating areas - outside the nightclub, Ocean Plaza and Red Frog Pub.

For non-smokers, the best thing is to avoid the outdoor areas along the length of Deck 5, port side.

The “tell” is the ash trays set out on the port side of Deck 5, as well as other decks. If there are ash trays set out smokers are welcome. Where there are no ash trays, such as outdoors on Deck 5, on the starboard side, NO smoking is allowed.

No smoking is allowed on Deck 10, either in the area by the “main pool”, nor on deck by the aft pool.

One deck up, on Deck 11, along the port side, from the central pool, continuing all the way aft, smoking is allowed. There are some very comfortable seating areas, as well as lots of space for loungers. This is where I hang around, so non-smokers want to avoid outside areas of Deck 11 port side.

The same comfortable seating arrangements, as well as lounger space is available on the starboard side outdoors along Deck 11.

Frankly, this all seems like a reasonable accommodation, if you know the rules and policies. Of course, there will be those happier with the first suggested action, of hanging me by my ankles from the Atrium.

The one area of concern in my mind, is the area of the casino bar, and areas within the casino where smoking is allowed.

On this ship, the casino covers the width of the interior of Promenade Deck (Deck 5). As this is in the center of what I refer as “the action deck”, passengers passing through the area are forced through to pass through the casino.

Though there are plenty of non-smoking table games and slot machines in the casino, the traffic pattern does force some exposure to second hand smoke for those just moving about the ship.

- Action Deck -

Several times I’ve referred to Promenade Deck (deck 5) as the “action deck”.

Most of the interior bars are located along this deck. But what makes this all more unique, is each of these bars has easy access doors to “patio areas” outdoors, next to them, even including the nightclub.

In many ways this gives the deck a “feel” similar to walking down any street in a resort area, with restaurants, bars and patios along the way, offering both indoor and patio seating areas.

The Promenade Deck does extend, width ways, out past the structure of the balcony cabins above it. So, those on the balconies above do have a view of the activities below them, outdoors on the Promenade Deck.

I haven’t yet checked out the view, looking above, from the Promenade Deck to know if you can see much of the activities of the guests out on their balconies, above.

- Pool Deck - Deck 10

The mid-ship pool area is unlike that on any other Carnival ship, or any ship for that matter, that I’ve seen before.

The mid-ship pool is much more like a beach resort, with the circular shaped pool in the center, surrounded in the same pattern with sun loungers.

On the edges of that area, on one side is the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar; on the other is the Red Frog Run Bar. On the opposite side is Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint, and the other, the Burrito Bar. With design, signage, and furnishings used, completes the total feel of the resort area.

The aft pool area has much more in common with what past cruisers will consider a “normal” ship’s pool area.

While I haven’t yet seen any of the areas of the ship on a full day at sea, I can’t say how it will all function then, but from what I’ve seen to date, I think the design, ambience and attitude of these areas are outstanding.

- Entertainment -

From what I have seen so far, there is basically live entertainment everywhere. Ignoring the showroom entertainment, in the Ovation Theater, for a moment; there is live entertainment from a bandstand above the Atrium Bar, on Deck 3, in the Ocean Plaza, near to the coffee and desert bar, in the Red Frog Pub, in the Piano Bar, and in the aft Limelight Lounge (where the Comedy Club is also held).

The standard method of presenting an early and late show in the Ovation Theater has changed as well.

Rather than the same show being offered once for early seating guests, and again later, for late seating guests, the shows are held once per evening, and then repeated another night during the cruise.

That’s how, after missing “The Brits” show on the second night of the cruise, I was able to watch it last night.

The presentation of the show is totally different as well. These shows are limited to 30 minutes, and they are chock full of action for that 30 minutes, and the time flies.

The addition of incredible and very entertaining technology, along with the seven person cast made “The Brits” show wonderfully enjoyable. There’s use of multiple back screens, featuring lots of animation, reminding me a bit of the use of it in the Beatles movie, The Yellow Submarine.

The show, also mixed the characters, with them jumping in and out from animated characters to them being live on stage.

Though the cast is only 7 people, with the use of the screen technology, and laser lights at times they make it look like a cast of 100.

And though there are certainly Beatles songs included in the numbers, there’s quite a variety of music, from Georgie Girl to Benny and The Jets, to Englebert Humperdink.

The show I caught ran from 10:15 until 10:45 P.M. Then passengers had to motor to the aft of the ship, for the late night adult comedy club presentation.

After a long port day in Livorno (for Florence) and with another long day in Civitavecchia (for Rome) on tap for tomorrow, I was surprised how absolutely well attended both these venues were for the shows I saw.

Prior to our stop in Livorno yesterday, some friends had made a reservation for dinner in the ship’s Italian Restaurant (Aft on Deck 11) - Cucina del Capitano, and they had included me in their reservation.

I thought it was going to be odd to have dinner in an Italian restaurant on the ship, after having had lunch in the “real thing” in Florence, earlier in the day. But I accepted the invitation.

The restaurant, which costs an extra $12 per person to dine in, is expansive, and beautifully done; creating a delightful ambiance.

I found the menu to be a bit limited, yet wide enough everyone should find more than enough choices to find something satisfying. The portion sizes here, much like the restaurant we had lunch at were HUGE!

Linguini and meat balls

Braised short ribs

Chicken Parmigana

The entire staff throughout the restaurant were incredibly happy, and friendly, and the food was very good.

However, as the saying goes… nothing is perfect, and there were a couple of glitches in the experience.

Probably the most pronounced glitch, which did have an affect on the dining experience; the basketball court is located directly above the restaurant on Deck 12. And, from the sounds of it, there was a lively game going on above as we dined.

We kept hearing loud bangs above our heads, and feeling the ceiling vibrate, until we asked about it, and found out it was the basketball court above.

Obviously, it wasn’t the wisest choice of location for the basketball court.
The other glitches were in the design of service. After finishing our appetizer course, when removing our plates, the service staff requested we keep and reuse our cutlery for our coming entrée.

Obviously this wasn’t a “deal breaker” type of incident”, but having myself been in the restaurant business for many years, not a system I’d have in place.

We also found it somewhat difficult to get our sodas and coffee cups refilled. The staff did move by us several times to ask if everything was alright, but moved by so quickly, it seemed like a tertiary visit, without really giving time or interested in hearing the response.

There’s no doubt we could have got more refills, had we been more assertive, by waving them down more quickly. But, I’m not sure we should have had to be.

More to come later in the day…

Last edited by Kuki; June 30th, 2012 at 08:16 AM.
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