ABOARD THE CARNIVAL BREEZE - It doesn’t look all that scary. But when you are up there standing on a thin rope with the vast sky overhead and the deep sea beneath, it can be quite exhilarating.
And a bit frightening, I must admit.
A first for cruise ships when it was unveiled on the sister Carnival Magic, the ropes SkyCourse aboard the new Carnival Breeze offers outdoor adventure suspended above deck with spectacular views. Hooked to a safety harness, passengers can participate in different rope activities of varying fitness levels – easy, moderate and challenging – while enjoying awesome sights of the sea nearly 150 feet below.
Traverse rope bridges, swinging steps and beams. It is worth a trip to the top just to see the ocean scenes.
Although ocean liners have long had exercise options for sports and health enthusiasts, the new Carnival Breeze is certainly going an extra mile in offering outdoor recreation. SportsSquare has enough activities that cruisers might burn off those one or two pounds we are said to gain on a cruise.
That is one or two pounds a day.
The miniature golf course is getting plenty of use on our cruise to the Caribbean. A large lighted multi-purpose court is popular for basketball, volleyball and soccer. Strong netting around the court keeps balls from zooming into the ocean. There are also ping-pong tables and foosball tables.
Sky Fitness features a wide array of exercise equipment, stationary bikes, elliptical and rowing machines, punching bags and more. A six-station Vita exercise course seems well used whenever I pass it.
For a run in the sun or a stroll at sunset, Sports Court is an 800-foot-long padded jogging path that surrounds the fitness area and the Lanai is a convenient wraparound walkway on the promenade. Nothing like getting some exercise while watching the ocean roll and stars starting to light the night sky.
For water lovers, the Carnival Breeze’s WaterWorks is a popular draw. Hands-on adventures invite cruisers to interact with and drench each other. Spraying cannons, tipping cones, colanders, squirting jets, shower valves, spinning water wheels and slides galore guarantee getting wet. The WaterWorks centerpiece is a gigantic 300-gallon water bucket named the PowerDrencher.
The central pool deck, the Beach Lido Pool, is always rocking with fun, including the traditional contests – hairy legs, macho chests and other weird competitions. After all, Carnival Cruise Lines prides itself on “fun, fun, fun.”
A new pilot program that started on the Carnival Breeze has now been initiated fleet wide. I totally support it. The system is designed to ensure that all guests are able to enjoy equal access to sun loungers by preventing seat saving in outdoor deck areas.
On another cruise line, I followed a woman one morning who was wearing two sun hats with two tote bags looped over her shoulders and a bunch of beach towels in her arms. I wondered where she was going and quickly discovered that she was staking out a whole line of beach chairs by the ship’s pool.
When I checked back more than an hour later, the woman was still sitting there – alone - with all that stuff spread out to save nearby chairs for her family or friends. That stinks.
Under the new Carnival Cruise Lines system, shipboard team members monitor sun lounge use and if they observe a seat that contains a towel or personal belongings but appears to be unoccupied, a notification is placed on the chair indicating the current time. If the chair remains unoccupied for 40 minutes, the contents are removed and held for the guest’s safekeeping.
Signs in the outdoor deck areas, as well as notices in the daily shipboard newsletter and info displayed on the Seaside Theater poolside LED screen are giving passengers plenty of notice about the change.
I certainly heard no complaints about it on the Carnival Breeze, just compliments from pleased passengers.