Carnival Breeze marks a distinct new stage in the evolution of the cruise experience provided by Carnival Cruise Lines. As her Hotel Director Pierre B. Camilleri pointed out to me, Carnival Breeze differs from her predecessors in at least three distinct ways.
A new look
While Carnival Breeze may look like her sisters Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic from the outside, step inside and you will instantly notice that Breeze is much different in appearance from her sisters and indeed from any previous Carnival ship.
“Carnival Breeze was designed by a German group of architects known as Partner Ship Design. Before, our ships were designed by architect Joe Farcus. Onboard this ship, the Ovation Theatre was designed by Joe Farcus and our casino was designed by Joe Farcus. Everything else was designed by the German partners.”
“In Europe, [the new design] was very well accepted. I had no doubts [it would be] – European company, European style for a European clientele. But we were very curious as to what was going to happen when we got to the U.S. The big question was will our North American guests accept this European clean, lean, Caribbean-style light colors, light-hearted feeling of the ship? It was a very big question.”
“Out of everything that we did, the design of the ship was the biggest hit. Our guests love this Caribbean look. They love these yellow colors all over the ship. They think the ship is bigger. The ship is not bigger than the Magic and the Dream. It just feels bigger.”
In addition, the guests like the continuity of design throughout the ship. “ If you start walking on Deck 5 from outside the Ovation Theatre all the way to the back where the steakhouse is, there is one feel where before it used to be blocks - - blue, pink, red, purple, - - blocks of different overpowering colors. We don't have that anymore. Now it is more leaner. The colors are always the same. It blends very well from the forward of the ship to the aft of the ship.”
“What are the guests telling us? They love the colors, they love the ship, they love the design.”
Some specific areas that the guests are talking about - - first, the ship's buffet restaurant, the Lido Marketplace. “Where before we used to build cafeteria-style restaurants, now we have another venue onboard where guests, even if they do not want to eat, sit, talk, play cards, read books. Before we didn't see that. It became another place to enjoy.”
“The designers explained to me [that with] the Lido Marketplace, they wanted the guests to feel the outside inside the Lido Marketplace.” Therefore, they incorporated trees, building facades, and street furniture as well as lighter colors into the décor. “ They did a good job and it is working very well for us.”
“ Another thing that guests talk about is these beautiful Caribbean backdops that we have in the corridors between the staterooms. When you are walking in those corridors going from your stateroom to somewhere around the ship or from one of the lounges to your stateroom, you feel that you are walking on the beach because on your left and on your right side you see these beach colors. You see the palm tree, the beach and the boat passing by.”
“The staterooms get a lot of positive feedback too. We went with lighter colored furniture. We went away from the pinks that we used to have before and now we have more of the lighter greens, yellows and blues. Both our spa cabins and our standard staterooms have been very well praised. Guests think that our staterooms are bigger. They are not bigger, we just changed the colors. That's another success.”
“Recently, we started getting positive feedback about our nightclub, Liquid. A very raw place. A little bit of furniture, a lot of steel and hard flooring. Designed on South Beach nightclubs. In Europe, busy but nothing wow. Once we hit Miami, that place is pumping from ten o'clock in the evening until three o'clock in the morning.”
And the change in appearance is not limited to the ship itself. “We have also changed the uniforms - -. a one million dollar investment in uniforms around the ship. You will see different uniforms in the dining room, different uniforms in housekeeping, different uniforms in the bars, all the branded areas have their own branded colored uniform. Now we have more of a hotel, resort-type uniform compared to traditional shipboard uniforms, especially in the hotel department. Deck and Engine, we kept our traditional officers uniforms.”
Along the same lines, the name tags the crew members wear have been changed. “Before we used to have both names, now we only have first names. The name now is about three fonts bigger than what we used to have before because we wanted guests to recognize the name of the crew members. We have plainer name tags with bigger names for the guests to connect by name with our crew members.”
More than skin-deep
The difference between Carnival Breeze and her predecessors is more than cosmetic. She has an array of features that is greater in number and in kind than earlier ships. While some earlier ships have some of these features, none have the same overall line-up.
“Carnival Breeze is the sister ship of Carnival Magic and Carnival Dream. We are the refined version of the Magic and pretty different from the Carnival Dream. The three ships are Dream class but what is different here is we have Fun Ships 2.0.”
“What is Fun Ships 2.0? It is what you experience here onboard the Breeze, which is all these branded outlets.”
Essentially, a branded outlet is more than a physical place. It is a venue that is built around a concept. It has certain attributes and characteristics that flow from that concept. In addition, things such as décor and uniforms are used to support that concept. Thus, it is not just a bar, restaurant or entertainment facility on the ship but rather one designed to deliver a specific product or experience.
Each outlet has a specific idenity. Moreover, it is an identity that can be transferred from ship to ship thus enabling the line to reproduce a branded outlet that has been successful on one ship to the rest of the fleet.
To illustrate, on previous Carnival ships, there have always been bars by the main pool area. On Breeze, two branded outlets, the Blue Iguana Tequilia Pub and the Red Frog Rum Pub, have replaced those poolside bars. Each has its own theme and the décor and the drinks menu reflect that theme. As a result, they are more interesting and attractive to guests than previous pool bars.
On Carnival Breeze, there are branded outlets galore. In addition to the aforementioned bars, branded outlets include: specailty restaurants, Farhenheit 555 Steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi, Cucina del Capitano; casual dining venues, Guy's Burger Joint, Blue Iguana Cantina, Jimmy's C-side BBQ; and bars such as the Red Frog Pub (Caribbean pub) and Piano Bar 88.
But there are piano bars on other Carnival ships, what distinguishes this one? “We have a different, updated menu. That doesn't mean it is more expensive, it is still affordable prices. But everything is branded: the note pads that the guests write on to communicate their song requests to the pianist, the colors, the logo, the uniforms. The team is always the same in that bar - - there is no rotation of our crew members. It is a team and they have ownership of this bar and stay in this bar during their entire contract.”
Cruise ship interview - - Carnival Breeze - - Carnival Cruise Lines - Hotel Director Pierre Camilleri