Make no mistake about it; new Carnival Breeze is the best ship Carnival Cruise Lines has produced in their 40+ year history of industry-defining vessels. Better yet, look for other cruise lines to emulate features, functions and processes found on Carnival Breeze. The ship is just too good not to copy.
While the cruise industry has slowed down on building new ships, recent construction combined with onboard programming has served to redefine an industry that looked to be gravitating toward a central experience just a few years ago. Then, travelers choosing a cruise vacation mainly focused on choosing a date and itinerary that fit their schedule and dreams. Now, with each line so very different from one another, travelers have to consider the onboard experience, which may or may not be a good fit for them.
Carnival’s new Breeze has done both, presenting a product of wide appeal to travelers…perhaps a wider appeal than any other line. Combining their rich history of laser-focus on children’s programming, for example, Carnival has added branded elements that interest children outside of their popular Camp Carnival youth program. The Sport’s Square top-deck area offers a ropes course, basketball court, water park and more that kids like.
But grown-ups, regardless of demographic classification, like it as well. That’s the beauty of the Carnival master plan, called FunShip 2.0 and that’s the difference that will set them apart from every other line.
Gone are the neon booze-cruise inducing lights, replaced by middle-of-the-road pastels and earth tones found on luxury lines. Out went the campy main showroom yawn-fests, replaced by peppy sing-along shows that get passengers up off their feet to join in what will be a memorable performance.
And “Memorable” is a big part of what Carnival has done to welcome a new breed of cruise traveler. Each and every experience on board the ship had to pass the “Is this memorable?” test before being considered and an element in the FunShip 2.0 initiative, being selectively rolled out fleet wide as you read this.
Joining in as part of the show rather than sitting by killing time, experiential Hasbro The Game Show serves both as entertainment and as a key element in the entire cruise experience. Even those not selected to be on stage, participating in the show, will remember those who did when they are seen around the ship, later in the voyage. That taps the elusive camaraderie that makes sailing a shared experience and one eludes other lines. Here again, there are no specific demographic target groups that the line is going after: they want them all.
Keenly aware of price points, Carnival also tested elements of the plan asking “Does this add value?” to the cruise experience and, again, each had to pass the test. Partnering with Food Network celebrity chef Guy Fieri to create Guy’s Burger Joint is a good example. Here, the line brings what everyone seems to agree is the best burger ever (I have had one every day of this 12-day sailing) in an efficient, fun venue centrally located on the ship’s lido deck where a great deal of energy is produced.
That energy gets its charge from the dueling Red Frog Rum Bar and Blue Iguana Tequila Bar on opposite sides of the deck. Throughout the voyage, guests again form an alliance as being either a “red” or a “blue”. Early in our sailing, I walked up to the lido deck early in the morning, when just early risers were up, well before either venue was open for business for a quick test.
I asked the first ten people I ran into “Red or Blue?”. Just that. Nothing else. Each immediately had an answer with votes coming out 7 Reds and 3 Blues. Their reply was not “Huh?” or “What do you mean?”, each knew exactly what I was talking about.
This is the level of effectiveness Carnival is playing on and one that should serve them well for the next decade.