The family of vessels (known as the "Dream-class") to which Breeze belongs started with Carnival Dream in 2009 and was followed by Carnival Magic in 2011. But Breeze is the newest and largest Carnival ship yet.
Carnival Breeze is one of the last vessels of the generation of ships ordered between 2000 and 2010 yet to be delivered to the U.S. market. Significantly, while other cruise lines often produce near carbon copies when they build sister ships, Carnival makes every single ship unique in décor - and Breeze is radically different from previous Carnival ships in terms of interior décor, to the point where it is the most important aspect of this new ship.
Breeze will be the most radically different Carnival cruise ship introduced since Carnival Destiny in 1999 - completing a cycle where Carnival began the new millennium by taking off towards full fantasy in décor and has now come full circle back to the classically traditional décor - at least as far as Carnival Cruise Line ships are concerned.
click on pictures below for larger images:
Saphire Dining Room
The Red Frog Bar
The Outside Promenade deck
Here Comes the Breeze
Now that the ship is completed, the cruise line has just "taken delivery" meaning the ship had been legally and financially in the possession of the shipyard until she was ready to be delivered. Much like a new car, the ship has been fully test-driven, all the trim is cut and all the rattles have been eliminated.
Within the delivery ceremony is a ritual called "reflagging" the vessel referring to the moment when the ship changes its flag from one representing the shipyard to new flags representing the cruise line and the nation where the new ship will be registered as an international sailing vessel. Carnival Breeze is now registered in Panama. Breeze is the 30th ship to be built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, located between Venice and Trieste in northernmost Italy, just south of Austria.
Carnival Breeze - Something New in the Air
Breeze is 1004 feet long, 130,000 gross tons and carries 3690 passenger berths and 1386 crewmembers. But Fincantieri has also reported that the ship can carry a maximum of over 6200 people, so if you deduct the 1386 crewmembers it means the total passenger capacity is more like 4814 - by adding third, fourth and even fifth people in pull down beds and sleeper sofas in the same staterooms as those containing the 3690 passenger berths. In fact, Fincantieri reports that Breeze represents a record passenger capacity for the ships it has built for Carnival to date, noting that Breeze has "a greater number of sea view cabins with two bathrooms, ideally suited for larger families of up to five."
The shipyard also describes the ship as featuring "a completely renewed design, based on tropical atmospheres with warm colours and pastel shades." A description which aligns with the preliminary renderings of the ship supplied by Carnival, and soon to be replaced with real pictures.
Breeze will indeed be a radical change in interior design for Carnival, which in the past has gone for a very eclectic and whimsical approach. Breeze is much more subdued and some might say tasteful - although some people are also bound to say "less interesting."
Breeze is the first Carnival Cruise Line ship not to bear the signature of Joe Farcus, designer of all Carnival ships currently in service and famous for an apparent lack of inhibition. On previous "Farcusian" Carnival ships the goal of the design seemed to be "to startle and amuse the guest," in the spirit of fun and irreverence, in keeping with the "Fun Ship" motif of the cruise line. Significantly, Carnival has never officially said why they chose to make their previous ships so outrageous in design nor why Breeze is reverts to far more traditional décor.
In ways it seems antithetical to Carnival's newly embarked program called "FunShip 2.0" to upgrade its onboard experience. Breeze is the first ship to be built from the keel up in FunShip 2.0 style, although several of the more recently launched Carnival ships (post 2008) are being retrofitted with many of the FunShip 2.0 facets. Carnival is maintaining its "fun ship" approach, even though Breeze appears to be a step towards wooing a more sophisticated audience.
The first Carnival Breeze cruise sets sail June 2nd, 2012. You can see the countdown clock to the first sailing here, along with a virtual tour of the ship, a rendering gallery, videos and deck plans. There is an especially interesting applet on this page called "How It's Made" that describes the process of building Breeze on a timeline starting with Keel Laying and followed by Dry Dock, Float Out, Wet Dock, Interior Design, Sea Trials, Crew Arrival, Ship Delivery (where we are now in real life) and First Voyage.
Under "First Voyage" we read "At this point, Carnival Breeze has spent 17 months in a shipyard, so you can imagine just how ready she is to finally take to the sea and show some guests a good time..."
While the first cruise looks to be sold out - as it should be - there is availability for the second cruise beginning June 15 if you can settle for an interior ($1149) or ocean view ($1599) stateroom. But for a 12-day cruise those are extremely good prices, especially considering the itinerary; roundtrip Barcelona to Marseilles, Livorno, Rome, Naples, Dubrovnik, Messina (Sicily) and Mallorca.
Keep in mind that this brand new ship, with its more refined design, is a bargain for Mediterranean cruises this year with the remaining 12-day cruises this summer dropping to as low as $899 per person for the August 26 cruise with balcony cabins at $1299. You can see all cruise prices at the Carnival booking site, and you can then book directly or call a travel agent and get the cruise for the same price.