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Cruise Ship Review

Carnival Breezefont color=#C81D00 - New!/font - Ship Review provided by Cruise Critic

The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offers a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The entertainment offerings, which include a trio of new high-energy production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!) and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise -- but probably a pleasant one. Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. The ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies for the pun) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is lighter and less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offers a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The entertainment offerings, which include a trio of new high-energy production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!) and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise -- but probably a pleasant one. Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. The ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies for the pun) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is lighter and less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offers a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The entertainment offerings, which include a trio of new high-energy production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!) and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise -- but probably a pleasant one. Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. The ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies for the pun) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is lighter and less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offers a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The entertainment offerings, which include a trio of new high-energy production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!) and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise -- but probably a pleasant one. Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. The ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies for the pun) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is lighter and less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offers a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The entertainment offerings, which include a trio of new high-energy production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!) and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise -- but probably a pleasant one. Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. The ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies for the pun) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is lighter and less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offers a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The entertainment offerings, which include a trio of new high-energy production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!) and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise -- but probably a pleasant one. Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. The ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies for the pun) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is lighter and less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offers a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The entertainment offerings, which include a trio of new high-energy production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!) and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise -- but probably a pleasant one. Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. The ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies for the pun) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is lighter and less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offers a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The entertainment offerings, which include a trio of new high-energy production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!) and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise -- but probably a pleasant one. Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. The ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies for the pun) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is lighter and less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offers a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The entertainment offerings, which include a trio of new high-energy production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!) and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise -- but probably a pleasant one. Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. The ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies for the pun) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is lighter and less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offers a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The entertainment offerings, which include a trio of new high-energy production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!) and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise -- but probably a pleasant one. Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. The ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies for the pun) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is lighter and less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.

Dining

Breeze offers Carnival's most varied mix of dining options, from a burger joint designed by Food Network celeb Guy Fieri and the line's first stand-alone sushi restaurant to the traditional main dining rooms. Here's the full rundown:

Breeze has a pair of two-deck dining rooms, Sapphire (midship) and Blush (aft), differentiated by the lighting scheme -- softly glowing blue chandeliers and zigzagging overhead light fixtures for Sapphire, the same in red/pink for Blush. Passengers can opt for traditional set-seating dining (6 and 8:15 p.m.) or go modern with Carnival's flex-dining program, which allows you to dine in part of Sapphire between the hours of 5:45 and 9:30 p.m.

Nightly rotating menus feature salads, appetizers and chilled soups, with entrees consisting of pasta, meat, fish and vegetarian options. Choices that are lower in fat, cholesterol and sodium are denoted with little hearts (pan-seared fish, lighter sauces). The cutesy "Didja Ever" option, which changes nightly, is aimed at first-timer culinary experience (ahi tuna, escargot). Desserts include ice cream, pies and Carnival's infamous chocolate melting cake. For the finicky eaters, always-available options include flat iron steak, fried chicken and a vegetarian Indian plate. No meal in the main dining room would be complete without Carnival's signature singing and dancing waiters, who clap and hop around to digitized music, sometimes pulling passengers into the show.

Sit-down breakfast and lunch is also served in Blush. The menu items -- omelets, cereals and breads for breakfast and sandwiches, burgers and salads for lunch -- are not much different than the buffet offerings, but they're served in a more formal, less manic setting. Quality is commensurate -- it's the service element that differentiates the options.

The fee-free Punchliner Comedy Brunch, a sea day exclusive, features five-minute teasers from that evening's comedians every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There's also a special menu inspired by Carnival's "Curator of Comedy," George Lopez, and a Bloody Mary bar ($7.75 to $8.75). Dishes include huevos y carne, a Mexican-style steak-and-eggs dish, and a breakfast burrito.

Carnival has focused on redoing its top-ship buffet, a venue with a reputation for being something like a mob scene. Breeze's Lido Marketplace is lighter in design (beach umbrellas, faux brick walls) and more subdivided than previous Carnival buffets, offering a series of smaller spaces that segment the crowds. It's still congested -- especially when the hungry masses return from a port day -- but it's an improvement. As is the norm for Carnival ships, offerings are split by action stations. Passengers will find decent salad and dessert bars, made-to-order Mongolian Wok (choose your noodles, veggies, protein) and sandwich stations (turkey, tuna, caprese), and a comfort food setup (mac 'n' cheese, meatloaf). A plethora of other hot and cold offerings, including soups, salads, seafood, meats and pasta, also make the rounds.

More casual dining options spill out forward and aft onto the ship's two main pool decks. At the adjacent midship Beach Pool area, Guy's Burger Joint serves slabs of beef on a bun from noon to 6 p.m. The burgers are unapologetic monuments to excess: 80-20 beef patties topped with American cheese and cheese whiz on buttered buns. Add bacon, mayo and oil-soaked onions or mushrooms, and you have a hangover cure or a heart attack-inducer. They're a massive success.

Across the way is the BlueIguana Cantina, which offers wrapped-to-order burritos and topped-to-order tacos (for breakfast and lunch). On a ship aiming to evoke seaside spots like the Caribbean, California and Mexico, the burrito concept works beautifully. Roll chicken, cheese, beans and pico de gallo into a house-made tortilla cooked on a big, showpiece press. Then direct burrito-wielding passengers over to a condiments bar with more than 20 salsas and hot sauces, plus watermelon. Unfortunately, the salt content is off the charts. With all those great salsas, including offbeat concoctions like watermelon and jicama, and smoked tomato and scallion, where are the tortilla chips? (That's right, there aren't any.)

By the Tides Pool, located at the ship's stern, the 24-hour Pizza Pirate bakes pies to order, so it rarely has more than a couple slices available to quickly pilfer. Passengers will almost always have to wait a few minutes for the pizza to come out. It's worth it. The slices aren't Brooklyn's wood-fired finest, but the much-improved pizza (new dough, flatter crust) is the best of its kind at sea, and it comes out of the oven hot.

Nearby is our favorite casual venue, Tandoor, an Indian-themed grab-and-go counter, typically open from noon to 2:30 p.m. A row of meat-and-veggie skewers offers an appetizing backdrop to the grilled meat and fish, curries, daals and rice alongside key accouterments like mint chutney, raita and achar (pickle).

One deck up from the Lido Marketplace is Cucina del Capitano, a for-fee Italian restaurant that's decked out with novelty-sized wine bottles, checkered tables, singing waiters and framed pictures highlighting Carnival's Italian heritage (the origin of its ships and many of its captains). Passengers dine on hefty pasta platters, chicken parmesan and steak, and sip on $5 glasses of Chianti, dispensed via a wine barrel on wheels. Sides and appetizers -- arugula salad, minestrone soup -- are served family-style if more than one person at a table orders them. Tableside entertainment involves waiters awkwardly singing and dancing to Italian favorites ("That's Amore") over muzak tracks. Adults pay $12 to eat dinner there; kids younger than 12 pay $5. One tip: Don't stay too late. The restaurant is positioned directly underneath the basketball court. While we were sipping cappuccinos, the roof seemed poised to cave in under the repeated thunderstorm of bouncing balls.

Cucina is also open for surcharge-free lunch, during which cooks whip up stir-fried pasta creations to go along with self-serve salads and sides.

Bonsai Sushi is Carnival's first stand-alone, sit-down sushi venue located on Deck 5 -- on its other ships, a chef wheels out a surcharge-free sushi cart at night (with limited offerings). The menu is expanded at Bonsai, where tables are topped with the eponymous mini-trees, and framed Japanese graffiti hangs on the walls. Pricing for apps (like wagyu short ribs), salads and soups (noodle salad, miso soup), sushi (tuna, shrimp) and rolls (California, eel) is a la carte. Diners should expect to pay $12 to $20 for the food. (Ichibans and bottles of saki are extra.) Best deal: At $15, the sushi boat for two is the way to go. Each passenger gets a miso soup, green salad with ginger dressing and a smattering of sushi served on a faux-pine toy boat.

We do have one bone to pick. The slightly disturbing tableside song-and-dance routine may offend some. The scene: A trio of teeny-tiny Japanese waitresses ecstatically sing a heavily accented version of "Turning Japanese" as diners wave fish-shaped flags. (Google the song meaning.) The surreal rendition left more than one diner with mouth agape.

Passengers fine with Carnival's "free" sushi will find that it's been relocated to the buffet during evening hours.

On sea days, Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ pulls hundreds off the sun deck to its Deck 5 outdoor promenade spot. Chefs prod and flip coils of sausages on the grill, and plates are piled high with chicken, pulled pork, charred vegetables, creamed corn, baked beans and jalapeno cornbread mini-muffins. The requisite BBQ sauces and a makeshift mini-bar round out the offerings. Expect to queue up for 15 to 20 minutes or so to get a crack at Fat Jimmy's.

Fahrenheit 555 is the ship's rebranded steakhouse, serving exactly what you'd expect -- classic soups and starters (baked onion soup, tuna tartare), salads (Caesar, spinach salad) and prime aged beef, chops and seafood (ribeye, lamb, lobster), which the server wheels out on a cart for a pre-meal examination and explanation. It's $35 for a starter, salad, entree and dessert. Reservations are recommended, especially if you want to eat at prime time (6:30 to 8 p.m.).

The Taste Bar, also found on Carnival Miracle, offers a nightly rotating menu culled from the ship's various dining venues. Given its promenade location, the venue is a perfect amuse bouche on the evening march to the dining room. There are typically two tapas to sample, like short rib croquettes and pumpkin bisque from Fahrenheit 555, the ship's for-fee steakhouse ($35 per person). The small plates don't incur an extra charge, but the accompanying (and also rotating) cocktails are an attractive $5. For instance, passengers can opt for a Lynchburg Lemonade on "Comfort Kitchen" night, which features a grilled ham and provolone cheese melt on buttermilk brioche and cream of tomato soup, sourced from Breeze's casual buffet spot.

Carnival's popular RedFrog Pub, which debuted on Magic, features light bites in addition to its signature libations. Because you shouldn't order one of the always-hopping RedFrog Pub's 101-ounce beer tubes on an empty stomach, the menu also features a selection of bar apps for $3.33. Savory options include conch, sirloin and grouper sliders; fried green beans; and grilled chicken roti. A bowl of "pigeon peas," salty, spicy, deep-fried peas, are an included staple at every table.

The Ocean Plaza Cafe is Breeze's version of Starbucks. Alongside the for-fee lattes, cappuccinos and espresso drinks are cakes, gelato and cookies, which range from $1.50 to $3 each.

Breeze also features the $75-per-person Chef's Table, a now industry staple where passengers meet the head chef, wander the galley and enjoy a multicourse feast, paired with wine and a bit of culinary Q&A. Reservations are required -- and this event can fill up quickly.

The well-oiled room service operation is available 24 hours. The decent menu includes Continental breakfast items, as well as hot and cold items like BLT's, roast beef sandwiches, salads and cookies. It says to allow up to 45 minutes for a delivery, but it's often much quicker. It's customary to tip a couple bucks per order.

Public Rooms

The atrium -- the towering, nine-deck-high midship space that's one of Carnival's defining elements -- is found on Breeze, but with a decidedly un-Fun-Ship-like design. Instead of novelty-sized gem stones, color-changing lights or pink spots covering every inch of wall (found on other Carnival ships), Breeze's airier version features multicolored light fixtures suspended by a simple mural of a painted blue sky. A bank of glass elevators provides riders with the full perspective. The lobby bar, guest services and shore excursion desks are on the first deck of the atrium (Deck 3).

Decks 4 and 5 feature the obligatory boutiques, selling jewelry, duty-free booze and cigarettes, clothes and logo items. Cherry on Top, done up in candy-cane red and white, sells all manner of sweets by the quarter pound in the "scoop it from a plastic box" fashion. (Individual boxes of Sweet Tarts, giant lollies and chocolate candy are on offer, too.) Tux rentals and flowers for purchase are also available there. Ocean Plaza, an indoor-outdoor promenade space found on Dream and Magic, houses bars, entertainment venues and Breeze's coffee shop (indoors), as well as hot tubs, the sea-day BBQ venue and seating (outdoors). The outdoor space, called the Lanai, stretches completely around the ship, forming a half-mile route.

Carnival still touts art auctions, so there are several held in the gallery, complete with requisite sparkling wine handouts. For more fan-friendly imagery, the Photo Gallery on Deck 4 provides hours of enjoyment. If you're looking for your own mug among the masses, a key card-activated facial-recognition system, introduced on Magic, can help.

On Breeze, launderettes or simple "ironing rooms" are located on almost every cabin deck (nothing on the two decks housing spa cabins, but there aren't many cabins on said decks). It's $3 for a wash, $2.75 for a dry and $1.50 for detergent; hours of operation are 6:30 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

Carnival Breeze (and Magic and Dream) has traded the traditional Internet cafe for bow-to-stern Wi-Fi and more than 40 Fun Hubs -- Web stations that are found in various public spaces around the ship. Pay-as-you go Internet is $0.75 a minute, but you can bring the cost down to $0.30 if you buy 1,000 minutes ($300). There is a $3.95 activation fee the first time you log on. Funville@sea is a fee-free Intranet service providing access to onboard activities and events, dining menus, basic news and weather reports for the next destination.

The ship's library, which now doubles as a bar, has a modest selection of bestsellers and travel books, as well as an excellent selection of Hasbro-branded games (Monopoly, Battleship, etc). All can only be taken out with the help of a librarian (who doubles as the lobby bar bartender on Deck 3 forward). Tabs on book borrowers are kept via their Sail and Sign cards.

A small medical facility (Deck "0") and a conference room (Deck 4) round out the offerings.

Cabins

Carnival Breeze Cabin Photos

Carnival takes a proletariat approach to cabins, which are designed to be exceedingly functional without distracting passengers from the rest of the ship. There are no 1,000-plus-square-foot suites boasting baby grand pianos and verandah hot tubs on Breeze. The vast majority are 185- to 220-square-foot insides (719), oceanviews (221) and balconies (851, verandahs from 35 to 75 square feet), with just the right touches to make the stay comfortable. The big change for Breeze is the design. Carnival's long-time burnt orange, rust and pink scheme has given way to a toned-down mix of white and brown, accented by blue carpeting and pillows, and a splashy green abstract something-or-other on the wall.

Standard insides, oceanviews and balconies each feature two (large) twins that form a king (watch out for the category 1A insides -- those have bunks) and decent storage options, including couches with inset drawers, bedside tables with shelves, and a three-closeted bureau. Two of those three closets have nifty fold-down-fold-up shelves, which can be folded down or up to accommodate your wardrobe on the provided hangers. There are two 120v U.S.-style outlets and one Euro-style 230v outlet atop a small vanity, under which an ottoman-style seat can be pulled out or pushed in. Note that the cabins use a key card-activated electricity system.

Flat-screen interactive TV's -- check your bill, order room service, watch CNN or cartoons -- swivel so you can view them from the couch or bed. Hidden behind the TV are two more three-pronged, U.S.-style outlets. (Bulky cell phone plugs may only fit there.) Other in-cabin amenities include mini-fridges (which the room steward will empty upon request), safes, robes, chintzy phones and even chintzier hair dryers (hidden away in a drawer by the vanity in each cabin).

Bathrooms are functional with an oddly placed outlet for razors (look up), a toilet that sounds like it propels the contents into outer space, and a magnifying mirror. Showers feature massaging heads and those curtains with a reputation for inappropriate attachment to your legs -- strategically placed magnets, however, seem to keep the creeper in its place. There are dispensers with generic shower gel and shampoo.

Carnival's famous free basket of toiletries is always a welcome sight. Products vary, but I got a couple cough drops, mini-bottles of shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste, and sample packs of nasal strips.

Balconies each feature a pair of metal-and-plastic mesh chairs and a small acrylic-topped table. Some balcony cabins, including those situated around the stern, feature extended 60-square-foot alfresco deck spaces. Category 9C, which encompasses the so-called Vistas, has wraparound (wake and port- or starboard-facing) 75-square-foot verandahs.

Since cabins are so similar amenity-wise, location and other details -- for example, if your cabin is connected to another -- are important considerations. For instance, passengers who don't want to hear the intimate conversations of their neighbors should avoid said connectors. (Check deck plans to see where they're located.)

First-in-class Carnival Dream debuted the "cove balcony" concept, which was naturally a part of Magic and now Breeze. These Deck 2 185-square-foot accommodations are interestingly intimate -- they're shielded from potential overlookers by lifeboats. The proximity to the waterline also makes for a one-of-a-kind view from the 45-square-foot, semi-enclosed balconies.

For families of five, 230-square-foot "quint" cabins each comprise two twins (if you're sleeping fewer than five, these can be combined to form a queen, unless mom and dad are a couple from a 50's sitcom), two bunks that hang from the wall and a sofa bed. (Note: If sleeping five, the twins will be left separated, with a ladder up to one of the bunks inserted in the space between the beds.) The cabins also feature two bathrooms -- one with a sink, toilet and shower, and the other with a tub-shower combo and sink. All quints feature picture windows; none have balconies.

For passengers looking for a touch more space, 275-square-foot suites may be worth the splurge. (A 275-square-foot Ocean Suite features a 65-square-foot balcony.) These add larger sitting areas and bathrooms with tubs. Even larger are the 345-square-foot Grand Suites, which have 85-square-foot balconies. These have more seating, full bathrooms with shower-whirlpool tub combos, bidets and double sinks.

The ship's largest suite, a 450-square-foot modified Ocean Suite (7270), has a 110-square-foot balcony. The extra space is due to the suite being an accessible cabin.

Passengers staying in suites don't get much in the way of extra perks, but they do get V.I.P. check-in.

Breeze's Cloud 9 Spa cabins are clustered around the ship's two-deck spa of the same name (located on Decks 12 and 14). The accommodations, which come in a few versions -- 185-square-foot oceanviews and balconies (with 35-square-foot verandahs), 275-square-foot suites (65-square-foot verandahs) -- are laid out exactly the same as other comparable non-spa cabins. The difference comes by way of design tweaks (green accents) and proximity to the spa. Passengers in Cloud 9 accommodations also get special toiletries, fee waivers for a trio of fitness classes, and access to the spa's thermal suite, which features various tiled rooms with steam and dry heat.

Entertainment

While Carnival hasn't integrated brand-name shows -- like Broadway's "Hairspray" and "Chicago" (RCI) or Blue Man Group (NCL) -- the line has taken its own novel approach. Productions in the 1,349-seat Ovation Theater top out at 30 minutes, and they showcase big investments made in sound and lighting. The generation-spanning music of "Divas" (Patti Labelle to Lady Gaga) was backed by a trippy faux-futuristic graphics package beamed on a mega-screen that was used to silhouette the performers and send the audience zipping through space. "The Brits," an homage to British Invasion hitmakers like the Stones, Beatles and Herman's Hermits; "Latin Nights," an homage to Latino hitmakers (Santana, Ricky Martin); and "Motor City," an homage to Detroit hitmakers (Smoky and the Motown gang). Expect the same lucid backdrops to bring vibrancy to these shows, as well. Other shows (newlyweds not so newlyweds game, etc.) and guest performers, including comedian-magicians or musicians, may get top billing, too.

Another new-to-Carnival evening theater offering is "Hasbro, the Game Show," an interactive event inspired by the TV show "Family Game Night." Think long-popular board games transformed into a 30-minute stage show with passenger participation. For instance, Connect 4 morphs into a sharp-shooting basketball contest pitting two families against each other. Operation takes on the form of ski ball. (Getting balls in particular holes completes an operation and earns a team points.) The prizes for winning teams are, not surprisingly, Hasbro games.

Like any Carnival ship, Breeze features more than a dozen watering holes. But this time, the bars represent a new approach for the line. Instead of distinguishing venues primarily by glitzy designs, each tippling venue on Breeze is a well-defined brand with a specialized vibe, music, decor and even drink list.

RedFrog Pub, which debuted on Magic, is a love letter to Caribbean kitsch -- it's all driftwood signs, plastic marlins and fake palm trees. The popular venue features nightly acoustic music and a group of high-energy passengers sharing pints (or 101-ounce beer tubes) of Carnival's easy-drinking private-label ThirstyFrog Red. A bar-sized shuffleboard table complete with sawdust (for sliding the puck) is housed within. Piano Bar 88 packs them in nightly for a combination of light comedy and piano-man sing-alongs. Wander by at the right time (ie Elton John night), and you may see passengers and pianist wearing boas, oversized glasses and captain's hats.

By day, the Limelight Lounge mostly sits idly, but by night, it becomes the Punchliner Comedy Club, playing host to family-oriented (early) and R-rated (late) shows from a rotating lineup of comedians. Nearby, the dance club, Liquid, lets those who want to leave it all on the floor (or in one of the trendy, barred dance "cages," if you like to show off moves) do just that. Superstar Karaoke, which features fellow passengers backed by a house band, can create a legend for the week -- whether it's because a tone-deaf passenger set dogs to howling and glass chandeliers shattering with "More Than a Feeling" or nailed "I Feel Good," complete with spin and split.

A less popular new offering, The Library Bar, features a pair of enomatic wine machines, allowing passengers to dispense their own glasses of eight different vinos in two-, four- or six-ounce portions. There's also a small bar staffed at night, offering mixed drinks like the Papa Doble Hemingway (a margarita). The space, adjacent to the Sapphire dining room, was designed as a before- or after-dinner spot to meet for drinks, but it seemed underused.

Up on the pool deck are the BlueIguana Tequila Bar and the RedFrog Rum Bar, which are designed similarly but focus on drinks with the respective liquors found in their names. Both are open day and night. A drink-mixing competition that plays off the dueling bars is staged on sea days.

Other daytime activities include dozens of variations on trivia, dance classes (learn the Cha Cha!) and seminars (air quotes needed) on detox or art-collecting that are always aimed at getting passengers to open their wallets.

Every dedicated puller has her favorite slot machine at Breeze's Winner's Luck Casino, whether it's Inca Gold or Freak Show. The room -- which passengers pass through en route to, oh, everything -- also features roulette, blackjack, craps and the now-industry-standard pair of dealer-free poker tables. There's also that excruciating game where you try to compel quarters to fall over a ledge. Hardcore casino players can earn points that are good for rewards like drink comps. The casino also features the ship's dedicated sports bar.

Hundreds of shore excursions range from shopping and panoramic city tours to food-, drink- and water-based adventures. A handful of teens-only excursions are also offered.

Fitness and Recreation

Carnival has long been known for its candy-colored, high-energy sun decks -- featuring corkscrew waterslides, adults-only havens and casual dining options -- but Carnival Breeze boasts the line's best ship-topper to date.

The obligatory pair of "way too small for the number of passengers" pools, one midship and one aft, offer different vibes. The midship Beach Pool area is Breeze's outdoor hub, a sea of blue loungers with a postcard-size pool flanked by hot tubs and pair of thatched mega-umbrellas. The aforementioned quartet of branded bars and restaurants -- Guy's Burger Joint, the BlueIguana Cantina (burritos), BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar -- each occupy a corner of the Beach Pool space. A 270-square-foot jumbotron, which showcases TV shows (Frasier, Cheers), concert footage and evening movies, holds court over the space, which doubles as the venue for evening deck parties (RedFrog's Caribbean Beach Party, for instance) and daytime entertainment offerings (best mixed drink contest). A D.J. also regularly spins tracks there on sunny sea days.

The quieter but no less crowded Tides Pool area, a tiered space on the stern, offers views of the wake, rather than a mega-screen. There are two more hot tubs there, next to the pool. Tandoor, Pizza Pirate and a bar provide the eats and drinks.

Look out for the surreal towel animal army that materializes on the sun deck one morning of each cruise. Even the most cynical cruiser will admire the whimsy.

The bustling SportSquare is an outdoor activity space with a two-deck mini-golf course set amid alfresco billiards and foosball tables. Muscle Beach-style workout equipment is stationed nearby. Look up, and you'll find the SkyCourse, on which harnessed passengers navigate a series of wobbly planks, dangling ropes and other vertigo-inducing challenges. Pickup and scheduled games are a regular occurrence at the full-size basketball court located nearby. A running track forms an oval around SportSquare and the b-ball court, with seven laps equaling one mile.

All the way forward, the WaterWorks aqua park features a pair of corkscrew slides (one that finishes with something of a whimper in what's akin to a giant toilet bowl), a host of water-spraying apparatuses and the Power Drencher, a dump bucket that reverses poles at regular intervals, sending forth a torrent of water on yelping, mock-shocked passengers. Passengers must be at least 42 inches tall to ride the slides.

The adults-only Serenity is a lovely, popular area perched atop the sun deck. (Most Carnival ships feature some version at this point.) Oversized hammocks, black wicker loungers and clamshell chairs topped with thick teal cushions make for a striking image. A bar serves up whatever cocktails are needed. But the proximity to WaterWorks makes for a potentially noisy experience, too. The sound of delighted screams rings through the air whenever the power drencher unleashes. Serenity now? Still, deluge-related shrieking or not, plenty of passengers manage to snooze soundly.

One deck below Serenity is the Cloud 9 Spa, a 22,700-square-foot warren of relaxation areas run by ubiquitous concessioner Steiner Leisure. Cloud 9 features standard treatment cells alongside a thalassotherapy pool with a glass roof (people will ogle from above) and a suite of heated rooms that go from desert to rainforest, with variable temperatures and humidity levels. Those staying in Cloud 9 cabins have access to the thermal suite; there is a limited number of full-cruise passes on offer for $149. We were told that there are no day-passes available.

Typically pricey spa treatments include massages, facials and Botox. A 50-minute aroma stone massage is $159, one treatment of acupuncture $150. Look for deals on port days, like a free haircut ($35 value) thrown into a $95 "Gents Pamper Package."

The associated fitness room has the requisite machines, free weights and fitness class offerings. Basic classes, like stretching, are included in the cost of the cruise. Pilates, yoga, boot camp and spinning are $12 a class.

Family

Kids will find no shortage of options on Breeze, whether they're participating in scheduled activities in the toy-filled Camp Carnival spaces, lining up for the 30th time at the 312-foot-long twister waterslide or participating with mom and dad in "Hasbro, the Game Show."

Passengers from 2 to 11 make up Deck 11's Camp Carnival, which breaks its attendees down into three groups, each with its own age-appropriate activity list. Kids, ages 2 to 5, might enjoy face-painting, sand art and hide 'n' seek; for 6- to 8-year-olds, it's talent shows, Wii play and dance competitions; and the 9-to-11 set will by buoyed by board games, scavenger hunts, sports competitions and, yes, more video games. Kids-only lunches and dinners are part of the mix, too.

Scheduled activities generally run until 10 p.m., after which Night Owl parties -- late-night group baby-sitting with a more fun name -- are available for $6.75 per hour, per kid (plus 15 percent gratuity per child). There are also the occasional theme parties (Beach, Mardi Gras), which run from 10 p.m. to midnight and cost $13 per child (plus 15 percent gratuity).

Note that there are limited activities for the 2-and-younger set. (There are designated times when little ones can use the facilities if supervised by their parents.) Children who are not toilet trained cannot use Breeze's WaterWorks facilities (waterslides, aquapark) or pools. Passengers must be a minimum of 6 months of age to sail.

The Beary Cuddly Workshop is a for-fee build-a-stuffed-animal activity, where kids can accessorize and take home a stuffed teddy, lion, koala, dog or bear. Rates start at $19.95 and vary depending on the outfits and accouterments selected. A portion of sales go to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, with which Carnival has long had a close relationship.

The 12-to-14- (tweens) and 15-to-17-year-old sets have their own TV- and mood-lighting-filled spaces, located on Deck 4 (light years from the littler cruisers). Circle C, the tween hangout, features a video jukebox, dance floor, gaming systems tied to flat-screen TV's and Web-ready Fun Hub stations. The larger Club O2, the complex for the older teens, features similar amenities but adds a prohibition-style (booze-free) bar. The clubs are generally open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on days in port and from noon to 1 a.m. on sea days. Both super-cool hangout spots have dedicated directors, but the kids can come and go as they please. For teens who want to extend the grownup-free vibe onshore, there are a handful of teens-only shore excursions.

A nearby arcade, the Warehouse, offers a healthy selection of car-racing, first-person shooting and prize-grabbing games. Parents worried that little Timmy's penchant for killing zombies will impact his future inheritance can put a cap on daily arcade spend.

Fellow Passengers

Carnival attracts an outgoing set of North American couples, families and multigenerational groups. The average passenger age is in the 40's. As Carnival (the brand) expands to other markets -- new ships typically launch in Europe, so one or two international deployments per year are the norm -- the line is increasingly drawing English-speaking Europeans and Australians.

Dress Code

During the day, beachy or port-specific attire is the norm. Carnival's evening dress code is typically "cruise casual," but on two nights during the voyage "cruise elegant" eveningwear is suggested. On cruise casual nights, the line recommends sport slacks, khakis, jeans (no cut-offs), long dress shorts and collared sport shirts for men, and casual dresses, casual skirts or pants and blouses, summer dresses, capri pants, dress shorts and jeans (no cut-offs) for women. Cruise elegant dress means dress slacks, dress shirts and sport coats (suggested not required) for men and cocktail dresses, pantsuits, elegant skirts and blouses for women. On elegant nights, passengers may choose to dress more formally in suits and ties, tuxedos or evening gowns.

Gratuity

Carnival recommends $11.50 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $5.80 to dining room services, $3.70 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but it can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offer a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The new entertainment offerings, which include three up-tempo production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!), and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise. As with Farcus, Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. But this ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is naturallyl less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

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Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offer a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The new entertainment offerings, which include three up-tempo production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!), and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise. As with Farcus, Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. But this ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is naturallyl less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

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Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offer a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The new entertainment offerings, which include three up-tempo production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!), and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise. As with Farcus, Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. But this ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is naturallyl less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Breeze features 23 of the 25 aspects of Fun Ship 2.0, a program punctuated by its focus on low-commitment, high-energy offerings -- 20-minute standup comedy routines, 30-minute (tops) production shows, and fast-food sushi, burgers and burritos. The new quartet of dining and drinking venues on the sun deck offer a prime example. Stationed at the four corners of the main pool area are a burger counter designed by spikey-haired Food Network personality Guy Fieri, a rolled-to-order Mexi-Cali burrito stop, and a pair of Caribbean beach bars with mascots (Red Frog, Blue Iguana) and booze specialties (rum and tequila, respectively). The new entertainment offerings, which include three up-tempo production shows, have been scaled up in terms of impressive lighting, graphics and sound, and pared down in terms of running length. Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a fee-free dining venue that materializes on sea days, and Bonsai Sushi, a for-fee, sit-down Japanese restaurant (a first for the line) featuring singing waitresses, are also new to the game.

(Note: the missing elements are the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar, which are currently found on Carnival Liberty, and will be added to other ships during dry docks. These bars were designed after Breeze's blueprint was finalized -- and it was ultimately impossible to include them.)

An equally striking difference comes by way of a conspicuous absence. The curtain has been drawn on long-time lead designer Joe Farcus, whose over-the-top Vegas glitz, grand themes (the Renaissance! Cubism!), and love of neon and highly polished marble defined Carnival for decades. (The hand-over to Hamburg-based Partner Design began on Magic, where Farcus created only a couple of spaces.) For passengers who've sailed on older Carnival ships, Breeze will come as a surprise. As with Farcus, Partner Design's aim is to immediately and evocatively convince you that you're no longer shuffling papers in a cubicle. But this ship evokes an island setting with ersatz palm trees, beach umbrellas, driftwood-style signage and images of verdant Caribbean islands, snorkelers or giant turtles throughout. The tropical scheme works in tandem with the dining venues, too. The Mexi-Cali burrito joint, burger bar created by Fieri, rum and tequila bars, and the popular indoor-outdoor, island-themed RedFrog Pub complete the more breezy (apologies) Caribbean vibe. The overall effect is naturallyl less schizophrenic than Farcus's Medusa heads, power crystals and Renaissance nudes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Breeze still attracts Carnival's bread-and-butter passenger: the unpretentious, highly social, price-conscious cruiser out for a fun escape. (Those who like a healthy dose of solitude with their cruises should probably select another option.) That large net catches everyone from the garrulous 30-something couple and the family of eight on the yearly summer vacation to the dance-club party star who falls asleep at a buffet table with his head resting next to a half-finished beer. They just have a bevy of new options to sample.

On the amenity front, the line wasn't about to dispense with certain fan favorites, especially those found on the sun deck. WaterWorks, the aqua park with its twister slides and water-spraying contraptions, is back, alongside the adults-only Serenity space and SportSquare, an outdoor activity center that features a ropes course, 18 holes of mini-golf and alfresco workout equipment. Back inside, Carnival's popular for-fee steakhouse, comfortable cabins (including the just-above-the-waterline Cove Balconies) and top-flight kids' spaces haven't gone anywhere.

Still, in introducing so many new elements, there are certainly some kinks to work out. Fat Jimmy's was mobbed on sea days, with passengers waiting for 20 minutes to get food. And some of the placement of venues is beyond bizarre. The adults-only serenity space, for example, sits next to the waterslides, from which gleeful howls can be heard every time the Power Drencher, a huge dump bucket, empties. Cucina del Capitano, the for-fee Italian restaurant, is situated below the ship's basketball court. While we sipped cappuccinos near closing time, the sound of thunder suddenly overwhelmed us. Basketballs. (The waitress said they are aware of the issue and do intend to limit playing at peak dining times.)

Finally, the emphasis on serving quick bites to the masses can have an impact on food quality. Burgers and burritos, addictive as they may be, were grease-laden and salty. And we wondered, given the attempts by other lines to include stand-alone healthy dining venues, why something akin to a spa cafe/juice bar wouldn't be a good fit on Breeze.

Quibbles aside, Breeze will serve as the template for the line's future makeovers and new-builds. So whether the ship's your style or not, you might as well get used to the new Carnival vibe -- it's here to stay.

Gratuity

Carnival recommends $11.50 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $5.80 to dining room services, $3.70 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but it can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.

Dining

Breeze offers Carnival's most varied mix of dining options, from a burger joint designed by Food Network celeb Guy Fieri and the line's first stand-alone sushi restaurant to the traditional main dining rooms. Here's the full rundown:

Breeze has a pair of two-deck dining rooms, Sapphire (midship) and Blush (aft), differentiated by the lighting scheme -- softly glowing blue chandeliers and zigzagging overhead light fixtures for Sapphire, the same in red/pink for Blush. Passengers can opt for traditional set-seating dining (6 and 8:15 p.m.) or go modern with Carnival's flex-dining program, which allows you to dine in part of Sapphire between the hours of 5:45 and 9:30 p.m.

Nightly rotating menus feature salads, appetizers and chilled soups, with entrees consisting of pasta, meat, fish and vegetarian options. Choices that are lower in fat, cholesterol and sodium are denoted with little hearts (pan-seared fish, lighter sauces). The cutesy "Didja Ever" option, which changes nightly, is aimed at first-timer culinary experience (ahi tuna, escargot). Desserts include ice cream, pies and Carnival's infamous chocolate melting cake. For the finicky eaters, always-available options include flat iron steak, fried chicken and a vegetarian Indian plate. No meal in the main dining room would be complete without Carnival's signature singing and dancing waiters, who clap and hop around to digitized music, sometimes pulling passengers into the show.

Sit-down breakfast and lunch is also served in Blush. The menu items -- omelets, cereals and breads for breakfast and sandwiches, burgers and salads for lunch -- are not much different than the buffet offerings, but they're served in a more formal, less manic setting. Quality is commensurate -- it's the service element that differentiates the options.

The fee-free Punchliner Comedy Brunch, a sea day exclusive, features five-minute teasers from that evening's comedians every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There's also a special menu inspired by Carnival's "Curator of Comedy," George Lopez, and a Bloody Mary bar ($7.75 to $8.75). Dishes include huevos y carne, a Mexican-style steak-and-eggs dish, and a breakfast burrito.

Carnival has focused on redoing its top-ship buffet, a venue with a reputation for being something like a mob scene. Breeze's Lido Marketplace is lighter in design (beach umbrellas, faux brick walls) and more subdivided than previous Carnival buffets, offering a series of smaller spaces that segment the crowds. It's still congested -- especially when the hungry masses return from a port day -- but it's an improvement. As is the norm for Carnival ships, offerings are split by action stations. Passengers will find decent salad and dessert bars, made-to-order Mongolian Wok (choose your noodles, veggies, protein) and sandwich stations (turkey, tuna, caprese), and a comfort food setup (mac 'n' cheese, meatloaf). A plethora of other hot and cold offerings, including soups, salads, seafood, meats and pasta, also make the rounds.

More casual dining options spill out forward and aft onto the ship's two main pool decks. At the adjacent midship Beach Pool area, Guy's Burger Joint serves slabs of beef on a bun from noon to 6 p.m. The burgers are unapologetic monuments to excess: 80-20 beef patties topped with American cheese and cheese whiz on buttered buns. Add bacon, mayo and oil-soaked onions or mushrooms, and you have a hangover cure or a heart attack-inducer. They're a massive success.

Across the way is the BlueIguana Cantina, which offers wrapped-to-order burritos and topped-to-order tacos (for breakfast and lunch). On a ship aiming to evoke seaside spots like the Caribbean, California and Mexico, the burrito concept works beautifully. Roll chicken, cheese, beans and pico de gallo into a house-made tortilla cooked on a big, showpiece press. Then direct burrito-wielding passengers over to a condiments bar with more than 20 salsas and hot sauces, plus watermelon. Unfortunately, the salt content is off the charts. With all those great salsas, including offbeat concoctions like watermelon and jicama, and smoked tomato and scallion, where are the tortilla chips? (That's right, there aren't any.)

By the Tides Pool, located at the ship's stern, the 24-hour Pizza Pirate bakes pies to order, so it rarely has more than a couple slices available to quickly pilfer. Passengers will almost always have to wait a few minutes for the pizza to come out. It's worth it. The slices aren't Brooklyn's wood-fired finest, but the much-improved pizza (new dough, flatter crust) is the best of its kind at sea, and it comes out of the oven hot.

Nearby is our favorite casual venue, Tandoor, an Indian-themed grab-and-go counter, typically open from noon to 2:30 p.m. A row of meat-and-veggie skewers offers an appetizing backdrop to the grilled meat and fish, curries, daals and rice alongside key accouterments like mint chutney, raita and achar (pickle).

One deck up from the Lido Marketplace is Cucina del Capitano, a for-fee Italian restaurant that's decked out with novelty-sized wine bottles, checkered tables, singing waiters and framed pictures highlighting Carnival's Italian heritage (the origin of its ships and many of its captains). Passengers dine on hefty pasta platters, chicken parmesan and steak, and sip on $5 glasses of Chianti, dispensed via a wine barrel on wheels. Sides and appetizers -- arugula salad, minestrone soup -- are served family-style if more than one person at a table orders them. Tableside entertainment involves waiters awkwardly singing and dancing to Italian favorites ("That's Amore") over muzak tracks. Adults pay $15 to eat dinner there; kids younger than 12 pay $5. One tip: Don't stay too late. The restaurant is positioned directly underneath the basketball court. While we were sipping cappuccinos, the roof seemed poised to cave in under the repeated thunderstorm of bouncing balls.

Cucina is also open for surcharge-free lunch, during which cooks whip up stir-fried pasta creations to go along with self-serve salads and sides.

Bonsai Sushi is Carnival's first stand-alone, sit-down sushi venue located on Deck 5 -- on its other ships, a chef wheels out a surcharge-free sushi cart at night (with limited offerings). The menu is expanded at Bonsai, where tables are topped with the eponymous mini-trees, and framed Japanese graffiti hangs on the walls. Pricing for apps (like wagyu short ribs), salads and soups (noodle salad, miso soup), sushi (tuna, shrimp) and rolls (California, eel) is a la carte. Diners should expect to pay $12 to $20 for the food. (Ichibans and bottles of saki are extra.) Best deal: At $15, the sushi boat for two is the way to go. Each passenger gets a miso soup, green salad with ginger dressing and a smattering of sushi served on a faux-pine toy boat.

We do have one bone to pick. The slightly disturbing tableside song-and-dance routine may offend some. The scene: A trio of teeny-tiny Japanese waitresses ecstatically sing a heavily accented version of "Turning Japanese" as diners wave fish-shaped flags. (Google the song meaning.) The surreal rendition left more than one diner with mouth agape.

Passengers fine with Carnival's "free" sushi will find that it's been relocated to the buffet during evening hours.

On sea days, Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ pulls hundreds off the sun deck to its Deck 5 outdoor promenade spot. Chefs prod and flip coils of sausages on the grill, and plates are piled high with chicken, pulled pork, charred vegetables, creamed corn, baked beans and jalapeno cornbread mini-muffins. The requisite BBQ sauces and a makeshift mini-bar round out the offerings. Expect to queue up for 15 to 20 minutes or so to get a crack at Fat Jimmy's.

Fahrenheit 555 is the ship's rebranded steakhouse, serving exactly what you'd expect -- classic soups and starters (baked onion soup, tuna tartare), salads (Caesar, spinach salad) and prime aged beef, chops and seafood (ribeye, lamb, lobster), which the server wheels out on a cart for a pre-meal examination and explanation. It's $35 for a starter, salad, entree and dessert. Reservations are recommended, especially if you want to eat at prime time (6:30 to 8 p.m.).

The Taste Bar, also found on Carnival Miracle, offers a nightly rotating menu culled from the ship's various dining venues. Given its promenade location, the venue is a perfect amuse bouche on the evening march to the dining room. There are typically two tapas to sample, like short rib croquettes and pumpkin bisque from Fahrenheit 555, the ship's for-fee steakhouse ($35 per person). The small plates don't incur an extra charge, but the accompanying (and also rotating) cocktails are an attractive $5. For instance, passengers can opt for a Lynchburg Lemonade on "Comfort Kitchen" night, which features a grilled ham and provolone cheese melt on buttermilk brioche and cream of tomato soup, sourced from Breeze's casual buffet spot.

Carnival's popular RedFrog Pub, which debuted on Magic, features light bites in addition to its signature libations. Because you shouldn't order one of the always-hopping RedFrog Pub's 101-ounce beer tubes on an empty stomach, the menu also features a selection of bar apps for $3.33. Savory options include conch, sirloin and grouper sliders; fried green beans; and grilled chicken roti. A bowl of "pigeon peas," salty, spicy, deep-fried peas, are an included staple at every table.

The Ocean Plaza Cafe is Breeze's version of Starbucks. Alongside the for-fee lattes, cappuccinos and espresso drinks are cakes, gelato and cookies, which range from $1.50 to $3 each.

Breeze also features the $75-per-person Chef's Table, a now industry staple where passengers meet the head chef, wander the galley and enjoy a multicourse feast, paired with wine and a bit of culinary Q&A. Reservations are required -- and this event can fill up quickly.

The well-oiled room service operation is available 24 hours. The decent menu includes Continental breakfast items, as well as hot and cold items like BLT's, roast beef sandwiches, salads and cookies. It says to allow up to 45 minutes for a delivery, but it's often much quicker. It's customary to tip a couple bucks per order.

Gratuity

Carnival recommends $12.00 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $6.10 to dining room services, $3.90 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but it can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.

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