On the first day of February, I will embark on my very first Carnival cruise. That I’ve waited this long to try out the legendary Fun Ships is a little embarrassing; Carnival is, after all, one of the most popular cruise lines in the world, with a fleet of 24 ships. In 2013, approximately 4.5 million people sailed with Carnival – and soon, it will be my turn.

Join us in February as we set sail on Carnival - and Carnival Breeze - for the very first time! Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Join us in February as we set sail on Carnival – and Carnival Breeze – for the very first time! Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

On February 1, I’ll embark the sleek Carnival Breeze in Miami for eight days in the sunny Eastern Caribbean. Launched in 2012, Carnival Breeze is Carnival’s latest-and-greatest cruise ship, and the most recent evolution of the Carnival product. There’s less neon and contrasting patterns than her mid-90’s counterparts, with an interior design that instead features a more elegant – but still very vibrant – look and feel.

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At 1,004 feet long, she is just slightly shorter than the Queen Mary 2 and carries a normal double-occupancy capacity of 3,690 guests. But there are 14 passenger decks to spread those guests out over, leaving Carnival Breeze with a very comfortable passenger-space ratio of 36.1 Sailing at 20 knots, she can cover any ocean in the world with ease.

But Carnival Breeze also sports an astonishing number of bars, dining venues, and entertainment diversions – so much so that I’ll have my work cut out for me, even with eight days aboard.

Here’s a quick look at a few of the things I’m excited about:

The Superbowl – On Carnival!

While the NBA (and Carnival chairman Micky Arison) are featured in this image, the giant outdoor screen aboard Carnival Breeze will be featuring the Superbowl during my sailing. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

While the NBA (and Carnival chairman Micky Arison) are featured in this image, the giant outdoor screen aboard Carnival Breeze will be featuring the Superbowl during my sailing. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Here’s my admission: I know nothing – and I mean nothing – about the Superbowl, other than it’s a game of football and everyone goes nuts over it. I even had to Wikipedia the date which, as it turns out, is February 2, 2014 – my first full day aboard Carnival Breeze after embarking in Miami.

On this Fun Day at Sea, it will be impossible to escape the Superbowl. So, I’m going to embrace it. I have read that Carnival really goes all out on ‘Superbowl Sunday’, showing the game on the ship’s massive outdoor screen mounted just forward of the funnel and in the main show lounge indoors. Past Superbowl cruises on Carnival have had special drinks designed to represent each of the teams, and party food is trotted out.

In short, the ship is one big, gigantic party that day – Fun Ship-style. Who am I to resist? I plan to pull up a deck chair, grab a beer and watch the game along with everyone else! If you happen to be sitting next to me me, be a sport and tell me which team I should be cheering for.  We Canadians aren’t known for our football prowess.

The BlueIguana Cantina

The BlueIguana Cantina aboard Carnival Breeze serves up hand-made Mexican specialties. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

The BlueIguana Cantina aboard Carnival Breeze serves up hand-made Mexican specialties. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Years ago, I sailed on another line (which shall remain nameless) to Mexico. While docked in Puerto Vallarta, the casual buffet restaurant served up roast beef and mashed potatoes with gravy – about as ‘un-Mexican’ a dish as you can get. And although my Carnival Breeze cruise won’t be stopping in Mexico, it’s nice to know I can get some Caribbean-styled food onboard.

Introduced as part of Carnival’s FunShip 2.0 enhancements, the BlueIguana Cantina features freshly-made tacos and burritos along with homemade tortilla chips and salsa. You can even get Huevos rancheros – the classic Mexican breakfast dish – served up. It’s also currently only available on six Carnival ships – including the Carnival Breeze – making it even more noteworthy.

Pair that with a Corona (or, dare I dream, a Pacifico), and you’ve got the makings of a good lunch!

The Library Bar

Carnival, or Cunard? The soothing Library Bar aboard Carnival Breeze is a place I'll likely enjoy quite a bit. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Carnival, or Cunard? The soothing Library Bar aboard Carnival Breeze is a place I’ll likely enjoy quite a bit. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

This is my kind of space: books and wine. Not only that, but it’s a very cool evolution of Carniva’s onboard product, designed for those who’d like to have a relaxing, quiet drink with friends. A family side of the Bar – separated by a hallway – provides board games and other diversions. Interestingly, while many lines did away with onboard libraries long ago, Carnival has always been a staunch supporter of them.

The Cloud 9 Spa

The Cloud 9 Spa aboard Carnival Breeze is one of the largest in the fleet. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

The Cloud 9 Spa aboard Carnival Breeze is one of the largest in the fleet. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

I never really had Carnival pegged as having impressive Spas until I toured the Carnival Splendor three years ago in Long Beach, California. At the time, that ship had one of the largest spas in the Carnival fleet, and Carnival Breeze continues that tradition with a massive, two-level complex that spans the forward parts of Decks 11 and 12 and includes a hydrotherapy pool; relaxation lounges; thermal suites (my personal favorite); and a massive fitness centre. For myself, the cost of a weekly spa pass is always worth it, and I can’t wait to check out the offerings onboard the Carnival Breeze.

The Carnival Breeze herself!

The spectacular Atrium aboard Carnival Breeze reflects the new color palette chosen for this innovative ship. Rendering courtesy of Carnival.

The spectacular Atrium aboard Carnival Breeze reflects the new color palette chosen for this innovative ship. Rendering courtesy of Carnival.

Ever since Carnival Dream set sail in 2009, I’ve thought this was Carnival’s sleekest, sexiest ship to-date. Gone are the sharp, angular lines that characterized the Destiny-class and her related offspring, replaced instead with sweeping lines that would be right at home with Holland America or Cunard. Carnival Breeze is the latest evolution of the Dream-class, and the maturation of Carnival’s wildly-successful onboard product. It’s a ship that’s built for singles, couples and families of all ages. There seems to be something to suit every need and want, all packaged up in the fun, casual style that Carnival has built their reputation on.

I can’t wait to try it out.

Our Live Voyage Report aboard Carnival Breeze in the Eastern Caribbean begins February 1, 2014!

 

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