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Our Beautiful Breeze cruise (with pics) - 8/15/15

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#1
Carnival Breeze – 8/15/15 - 8 days from Miami to St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan, & Grand Turk.

Ahoy everybody!!! My name is Jeff “Jamman” Maskall, and I am a cruise addict!! We have just returned from an 8 day cruise aboard the beautiful Carnival Breeze. This was a roundtrip cruise from Miami to St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan, and Grand Turk. On this cruise were myself, my beautiful wife Patti, who as you know is my primary photographer, and our son Ryan, who will be starting college this fall. We loved the décor of the Breeze, because it gave the ship a definite Caribbean feel. We also loved the soft blues and yellows in the cabins.

We booked this cruise over fifteen months out, and selected two category 4J cabins, (inside with walkway view), at the front of the ship, with nearby access to the “secret” deck. We had the same type of cabins on the Liberty last year, and a few times on the Glory. Patti and I both agree that for future cruises we will stick to balconies, preferably “bowling alley” balconies, or aft wraps. You can feel more motion in these 4J cabins, which doesn’t bother us, but if the water gets just a little bit choppy, the bow of the ship cutting through the waves feels and sounds like hitting a pothole on the highway! The “secret” deck is a great place to watch the ship sail in and out of port, but anyone can go out there, so you don’t need a 4J room to do so.

I have a feeling that this review will be a lengthy one, as we, well mostly Patti, took over two thousand pictures along the way. We made this an almost three week vacation, and we will be driving down to Florida. Our plan is to spend a few days in Orlando first, then drive to Miami the day before the cruise. After the cruise, we would be driving back up to Orlando to spend four nights at the Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, before heading back up to New Jersey. Patti is not a fan of driving to Florida anymore, but tolerates it on the way down because of the anticipation of the upcoming vacation. However, when the vacation is over, she abandons us and flies back up to New Jersey lol.

We would like to dedicate this review to our son Kevin, as this was the last cruise he was booked on. We love and miss you, every minute of every day……..



Every journey begins with a single step, so here we are as we prepare to begin our journey…..




As we leave, we are treated to a beautiful rainbow, a sign of great things to come…..



Of course we have to get some Dunkin Donuts coffee…..



To be continued.....
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#2
We like leaving at 9pm and driving through the night, as there is hardly any traffic, and we avoid the rush hours while driving through Baltimore and Washington. The trip was uneventful until we reached Virginia, specifically the stretch of I-95 between Richmond and Petersburg. Normally, I take the I-295 bypass to avoid this stretch, but for some reason, probably because traffic was light, I didn’t.

This particular stretch of I-95 is hilly and curvy, and tonight there was a light rain falling, so the roads were slick. I had backed my speed down from my normal 80 mph or so to about 60, because of the conditions. I was in the left lane preparing to move over to the center lane, when in my rear view mirror I saw a car behind me in the center lane approaching at a higher rate of speed. I paid that no mind until I heard the screeching of tires. I looked to my right, out of the passenger side window, and saw the car next to me passing us going sideways! Not wanting to slam on the brakes, I sped up to try to get out of the way. Suddenly, the car shot to the right, across the right lane, and hit the guardrail….hard. I slowed down, and seeing that several cars were pulling over to help, we continued on. Later, when we were in Florida, I checked online, and discovered that particular single car accident was considered minor, and there were no serious injuries. We have to thank our guardian angel for keeping us out of harm’s way, and watching over the occupants of that car. If that car had shot over to the left instead of the right, it could have gotten really ugly, especially at that speed.

Needless to say, the three of us were quite shaken by that experience, but I’m happy to report that the rest of the trip down was uneventful.

After sixteen hours, we arrived at the Sonesta Suites hotel on International Drive in Orlando. This was to be our home base for the next two nights. Our suite wasn’t ready yet, so Patti and Ryan went shopping for a few items, and I hung out in the lobby with my laptop. We then decided to have a late lunch/early dinner, at the Brick House Tavern next door…..



I think Ryan and I look pretty good after 16+ hours in a car…..



To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#3
Here are Ryan and Patti…..



We were hungry for some snacks…..





After we ate, we went back to the hotel to find that our two bedroom suite was ready. We have stayed here before in the past, and we requested to be on the highest (5th) floor. We highly recommend the Sonesta Suites as they are very reasonably priced and a buffet breakfast is included daily. There is free internet access as well. Here are some views of our bedroom…..







To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#4
Here is the kitchen area…..



Here are some views of the living room area…..







Here are some views of Ryan’s bedroom and bath…..





To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#6
Sonesta Suites is located just across International Drive from the new Orlando Eye….



Here is a nighttime view from our living room window…..



The next day we split up, with Patti and Ryan going to Downtown Disney aka Disney Springs, and I went over to Wet n Wild. At 5pm they picked me up, and after stopping back at Sonesta Suites for a bit, we decided to check out the Orlando Eye. The normal price to ride the Orlando Eye is $25pp, but Patti found a deal online that would reduce the cost to $16.

The Orlando Eye just opened this past April. It towers over 400 feet, and it takes about 25 minutes to complete the circle. There is a pre ride 4D movie as well. I want to point out that there is also a wax museum and small aquarium on site (extra cost), and quite a few restaurants and shops to choose from. Since this a new attraction, I’ll share some photos with you. This is the Orlando Eye lobby and ticketing area…..



We are preparing to enter our car…..



Patti on the Orlando Eye…..



Ryan is checking out the information touch screen…..



To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#7
Here is a view of the information touch screen…..



Ryan and I on the Orlando Eye……



Here are a couple of views of the Sonesta Suites across the street…..





A few more views from the Orlando Eye…..





To be continued….
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#8
We are almost at the top. On a clear day they say you can see Port Canaveral to the east, and Tampa to the west…..



The view from the top…..



There is Hogwarts and the Dragon Coaster at Universal’s Island of Adventure…..



There is the Epcot Center at Walt Disney World……



We are almost back down…..



The end of the ride……



We enjoyed our ride on the Orlando Eye, especially at the discounted price. Afterwards, we went over to Dave & Buster’s for dinner and then called it a night. Tomorrow morning we will be heading to Miami, and be one day closer to boarding the Carnival Breeze!!
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#9
The next morning around 8:30, we left the Sonesta Suites to begin our four hour journey down the Florida Turnpike to Miami. We arrived at our destination just before 1pm, the Holiday Inn – Port of Miami, on Biscayne Boulevard…..



We chose this hotel based on the recommendations of other reviewers here on Cruise Critics, and were not disappointed. The one negative is that there is no self parking, only valet parking, costing $27 a day. Here is a picture of the hotel restaurant located in the lobby…..



Again, our suite was not ready when we arrived. No problem, we’ll just go across the street to the Bayside Marketplace, walk around, and grab a bite to eat. Here are a few pictures…..





I spy a whale tail in the distance (belongs to the Ecstasy)…..



We decided to go to Bubba Gump’s for lunch…..



To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#10
Ryan and I at Bubba Gump’s…..





Run Forrest Run…..



Ryan is doing his best Forrest Gump imitation…..



After lunch, we walked around Bayside some more. This is the Bayside Banyan tree…..





To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#11
The Hard Rock Café at Bayside….



Once back at the hotel, we had to wait a little longer for our suite to be ready, but once it was, we were well pleased. We had a corner king suite with bay view on the 9th floor, room 911…..



This is the living room with a sofa bed where Ryan will be sleeping…..



Here is Ryan in the small kitchen area…..



There is a coffee maker and a microwave on one side……



A sink and a small fridge on the other side…..



To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#12
The bathroom and shower….





This was our bedroom…..



This was the perfect table for a laptop…..



Being that we had the corner suite, we had a 270 degree view of the area. Here is the Majesty of the Seas and the Bimini Superfast…..



This was our view of the bay…..



To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#13
Here are some views of Bayside from our suite….











The Port of Miami sign on Biscayne Boulevard. We will be heading that way tomorrow morning…..



To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#14
The American Airlines Arena is nearby…..



Here is a view of the upper decks of the Majesty of the Seas…..



There are plenty of tour busses around…..





The Norwegian Sky is docked the furthest away…..



It’s sail away time! The Majesty of the Seas was the first to leave. Here is the Carnival Ecstasy approaching the turning basin…..



To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#15
The Majesty of the Seas and the Norwegian Sky head out to sea…..



The Carnival Ecstasy turns completely around, then heads out to sea…..











To be continued……
 

Donna - dsw

Well-Known Member
#16
Nice view from your second room. I feel like I am taking a mini vacation following you! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. You have the best reviews!
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#17
Around 6pm, Patti and Ryan decided to take another walk to Bayside. I was feeling tired, so I decided to stay behind and just enjoy the views from our room. I got a couple of shots of Patti and Ryan across the street…..





They came back a short time later, and we decided to eat at the hotel restaurant in the lobby. The food was decent and not too overpriced. Afterwards, we just hung out in the room getting ready for tomorrow morning, when after fifteen months of waiting, we would finally be boarding the Carnival Breeze!!
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#18
Nice view from your second room. I feel like I am taking a mini vacation following you! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. You have the best reviews!
Thanks Donna!! I love doing these reviews because it helps me re-live the cruise all over again. :emoticon 0100 smile:
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#19
Embarkation day is finally here!!!



We were up at 5am, probably because we were so excited to be boarding the Carnival Breeze today. Looking out the window, we could see the Norwegian Getaway in the turning basin spin around, then proceed to her berth…..





The sun is starting to rise over the bay…..



We can see that the Carnival Breeze has already docked, and the Carnival Glory is pulling in front of her…..



This is the view from our window on the 9th floor…..



To be continued…..
 

Jamman

Carnival Specialist
Community Sponsor
#20
Here is another look at our view…..



It’s early on a Saturday morning in Miami…..









Here is one more of our view of the Port of Miami…..



To be continued…..