|WaterWorks water park // All photos by Susan J. Young|
Finding the cool spaces onboard Carnival Breeze is the perfect way to conquer a hot European summer day. Travel Agent is onboard the ship this week and here’s our line-up of some of the best.
Water, Water Everywhere
Kids and adults alike can just don their swimsuits and head for WaterWorks on the new ship’s top deck. Wet ‘n wild thrills include a colorful, 312-foot-long Twister water slide, a DrainPipe slide, a humongous tipping bucket and a water play area.
Everywhere, water spritzes or flows. Gerry Cahill, president and CEO, Carnival Cruise Lines (www.goccl.com) told Travel Agent that WaterWorks is his favorite space onboard the new 3,690-passenger ship.
Cahill quipped that he thought it humorous to observe little children race to the spot under the 300-gallon tipping bucket, wait, and then scream in glee as the full bucket tipped over and doused them in a rush of water.
We interviewed several guests who spent time in WaterWorks during a sea day; they were pleasantly surprised that the park was not as crowded as they expected with minimal wait times for the slides.
For those who opt to stay onboard during port days, there’s a good chance they’ll have the park mostly to themselves. On the Salerno port day, we saw relatively few families at the park, and observed the same kids racing up and riding the slides over and over again with no lines whatsoever.
If clients want to just relax in a pool, there are two on Carnival Breeze. The Beach Pool is the main Lido area swimming pool; it has two Tiki-hut style structures that cover two whirlpools.
The Tides Pool is the aft swimming pool and so guests can lounge adjacent to the Tandoori dining station and the Pirate Pizza station, as well as the Tides Bar.
Speaking of pizza, the station offers pizza to order. Carnival estimates this station will serve 346,000 pizza pies annually to guests.
|Guests can enjoy "Dive In Movies" on the outdoor screen|
One cool outdoor entertainment spot on Carnival Breeze is the Seaside Theatre, essentially a poolside 270-square-foot LED screen. It offers “Dive In Movies” along with video presentations of concerts, sporting events and other programming.
Among the movies shown during our current cruise? On tap were The Blind Side, All the King’s Men, Grease, West Side Story, Sixteen Candles, Sherlock Holmes (2 movies), The Notebook, The Wedding Singer and others.
During this cruise, the NBA Finals Game Five between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder also was broadcast “live” starting at 3 a.m. last Friday.
Popcorn was provided. Coffee proved to be a necessity for less die-hard fans, though, given the hour.
And for the daytime crowd, the theater presented Michael Buble, Justin Beiber and Rod Stewart in concert, along with port talks.
When the sun goes down, adults seeking a cool clubbing atmosphere should head to Liquid, which pulsates to the latest hits and golden oldies too.
This is one spot of several spaces onboard Carnival Breeze that definitely isn’t “soft” in its coloring. You’ll find a rounded polished aluminum-like tube entrance leading to an expansive club with purple and pink décor.
There are alcoves with soft chairs and low stools, and circular seating wraps around a few pillars. But as with many clubs, many of the guests simply stand and dance.
Liquid has a large dance floor, pulsating lights that change colors, a state-of-the-art sound system and a small stage for a band or disk jockey.
One a recent night, the club played 70s or 80s hits starting at 9:30, and then dancing went on from 10:30 until what the line terms “late” with no specific ending time.
Circle C and Club O2
Adults aren’t the only ones with a cool spot. Activities in the modern, high-tech Circle C and Club O2 facilities are geared toward tweens 12 to 14 years old and teens 15 to 17 years old, respectively.
On Deck 4, the 1,075-square-foot Circle C lounge gives tweens a place to call their own, with a dance floor, video jukebox, music, video gaming consoles and Fun Hub work stations.
Adjacent to Circle C is Club O2, a 2,740-square-foot teen club where older kids can make new friends and dance to the latest hits cranked out from the DJ booth.
Teens can hang out at their own soda bar, play video games, surf the Internet at Fun Hub work stations and listen or dance to music with the club’s sound and lighting system.
Both the Circle C and Club O2 programs have a dedicated director who oversees tween and teen activities. The line-up might include late-night movies, video game contests, trivia and scavenger hunts.
Located nearby is The Warehouse Video Arcade, a large game room featuring the latest video and arcade games. It was deserted the two times we visited, so if you go and it's crowded, try another time. It's open 24 hours.
Relaxing in Cool Comfort
Not all cool spots have to be frenetic pulsating venues. A personal favorite space for Cahill is the Library Bar.
It’s decorated with blue upholstered chairs, cabinetry that houses books guests might borrow and an aura of quiet relaxation in air-conditioned comfort.
The Library Bar is actually comprised of two separate sections – with a hallway between. One side is for adults and has a full-service bar. The family area has board games, tabletop puzzle and digital screens.
In the evening, adults gather in the adult section for pre- or post-dinner drinks. Two automatic wine dispensing machines allow tasting of several vintages; guests put in their key card and then select two-, four- or six-ounce tasting samples.
Cahill says he knows the space isn’t ever going to be a money maker in terms of onboard revenue, but that’s not the prime goal. It’s just a space that those who prefer a quieter, cozier space, will truly appreciate.
|Carnival Breeze boasts more outdoor spaces including this area of Ocean Plaza.|
“People Watching” Central
Another cool gathering place on Carnival Breeze is Ocean Plaza, which spans the full ship beam (from one side of the ship to the other). It can accommodate 270 guests inside and outside.
If there’s a stellar spot to people watch on all sides, this is it. The interior of Ocean Plaza intersects the interior Promenade on two sides. So people are always walking by.
It’s also a good spot to mix and mingle, as many activities are held here throughout the day, including trivia of all types (such as Beatles, 50s and 60s songs and general trivia), mind games, napkin folding and karaoke.
The interior facilities include table seating, a cafe, coffee bar for lattes and espressos, entertainment stage, dance floor and a wonderful selection of pastries and desserts.
In addition, Ocean Plaza is home to the new Taste Bar, just the spot for a light breakfast, lunch or evening snack. Each evening a few appetizers are available here free of charge to guests; they are signature bites from the different restaurants onboard, such as the steakhouse or the Italian eatery.
On either side of Ocean Plaza’s core area are exterior decks with al fresco seating and umbrellas. Nonsmokers use one area, smokers the other.
|Fat Jimmy's BBQ|
On sea days, Fat Jimmie’s BBQ is open on the nonsmoking side. It’s essentially a Fourth of July-type buffet offering with pulled pork sandwiches, grilled meats, corn on the cob, potato salad and other savory picnic fare.
“Our ships spend a lot of time in nice weather, especially compared to other cruise brands,” says Cahill. “In the Caribbean and Mexico it’s warm and pleasant to be outdoors, so it makes sense for us to really develop the outer decks.”
|Piano Bar 88|
Piano Bar 88 creates a new twist on Carnival’s popular piano bar concept; the décor is slightly different than on other ships; it has dark blue and golden yellow hues.
Yes, your clients can still say “Play It Again Sam,” as there’s still a grand piano adjacent to the bar, which resembles a curved piano keyboard.
New on Carnival Breeze are themed nights with songs from a certain era or genre. Also new are updated menus that not only list drinks, but also categorize lists of songs.
So when cruisers just can’t think of the name of a certain 1980s song, but want the pianist to play it, they might check out the song list to see if it’s there, or pick another hit.
|Carnival Breeze's Cloud Nine Spa has a Thalassotherapy Pool|
Up in the Clouds
The fourth Cloud 9 Spa in the Carnival fleet has an austere entrance that’s simplistic. Guests who have sailed and utilized the spa on other Carnival ships will find this one has a new look.
The spa has clean white lines and soothing pastels. Its locker rooms are pleasing to the eye as well. A particularly pleasant spot is the bright and airy relaxation lounge with refreshments and comfortable loungers.
Inside the two-level complex, guests who are having spa treatments may enjoy the Thalassotherapy pool with warm, ionized seawater; it’s a welcome amenity for soothing tired muscles after a guest has been out and about during a long day of walking in Florence, Rome or Venice.
Inside a thermal suite, guests – again those who have booked spa treatments - may also climb aboard tiled loungers or use the steam room. The lounger room has soft cream and tan coloring that soothes the spirit.
We walked through the state-of-the-art fitness center. Many machines face forward and have ocean views, although the machines are pretty tightly packed at some points.
Other exercise facilities include a room that’s for spinning, aerobics and Pilates. Adjacent to the fitness machines is an area with free weights.
On certain days, the line bundles spa treatments at a reduced rate. During one port afternoon in Salerno, it was announced that the spa bundle would be $99 for three treatments, $129 for four.
In addition to massages, facials and pedicures, clients might consider something a bit different for their cruise. Carnival has an acupuncture specialist onboard as well.
The spa is increasingly important to Carnival guests. The line estimates that customers on Carnival Breeze alone will indulge in 18,000-plus massages, nearly 9,000 facials, more than 6,000 slimming treatments, and some 2,000 personal fitness consultations within the first year of service.
Guests who want the spa feeling in both their spa and their stateroom can book Cloud 9 Spa Suites, located on Decks 11 and 12 forward.
These suites feature unlimited access to the Thalassotherapy pool, priority for spa appointments, two complimentary fitness classes, exclusive spa stateroom amenities and spa towels, bathrobes and slippers for use during the cruise.
In our next report back from the ship, we’ll tell agents about such onboard experiences as Serenity pampering, the Punchliner Comedy Club Brunch, and the Ovation Theater presentations. Stay tuned to www.travelagentcentral.com for further details.