Look out. It’s tipping!
The whole massive load of water is falling on those innocent children.
And they’re squealing with delight.
Other kids large and small are being flushed down drain pipes and hanging precariously from walkways over the deck.
When it’s over, they want to do it again.
It’s just another fun day on Carnival Breeze as passengers try out the WaterWorks Power Drencher dump bucket, the two giant water slides–The Twister and DrainPipe– and the ropes course above the topmost deck.
It’s a brilliantly sunny morning at sea in the Caribbean on our voyage from Miami and it seems all 3,600 passengers want to be out on deck at once. That can make for a parking problem. While Breeze has more deck chairs located in more places than any other Carnival ship, sitting room is at a particular premium around the pools as more and more space is given over to bars and restaurants.
Enter the chair police. Carnival Cruise Line is testing a new use it or lose it policy for deck chairs on Carnival Breeze. Along the bottom of the big video screen above the pool, a message repeatedly warns that towels and personal effects left unattended for 40 minutes or more may be cleared to free the space for other guests waiting for a spot. The confiscated things can be picked up at the towel station on deck.
While I was on the Breeze on a full cruise in December, I found that the policy is more of a reminder than a regular sweep. There weren’t any chair monitors with stop watches on the prowl around the pool and there weren’t stacks of towels and bottles of sunscreen in the towel area. But the reminders did make people much more aware of the need to share space.
The first day at sea was particularly busy around the pools in the middle and stern of the Breeze. But in fact I didn’t actually see many empty chairs. People left their place for a few minutes in the pool or at the bar and then came back.
The reason they put a time limit in place was to give a subtle nudge to chair hogs, people who get up at 7 and put towels and maybe a book and some sunglasses down on prime sun chairs and then don’t use them until 10 or 11, one of the deck crew said.
They keep an eye on these to make sure that people are fair about reserving personal space they’re not actually using.
If they really were picking up all the unattended towels, books and flip flops every 40 minutes, it could become a storage problem.
The most coveted spaces on deck are actually the two-person lounge chairs with clamshell-like hoods in the adults-only Serenity zone on one of the upper decks. Here the 40-minute rule is more strictly enforced. A strategy one occupant confided to me to score and keep a coveted lounge spot was to get out at 7 and sleeping in the large two person chair until his partner showed up a couple of hours later. Other couples said they hold their preferred places by trading off: one goes for a swim or on-board activity while the other stays behind.
The use-it or lose-it policy has received a wave of support from passengers and is being considered for the other ships in Carnival’s fleet. When Carnival’s chief blogger John Heald posted the announcement of the chair policing in the fall, it immediately drew 275 comments, most of them positive and more than 500 Facebook “likes.”
Another trend taken into account in the design of Breeze is the fact that not everyone wants to sit in the sun all day. There are more options on Breeze for those who want seating in the shade and in places that are less active than the sun decks and the WaterWorks on this ship than on most Carnival ships, the line’s spokesperson Jennifer de la Cruz says.
One shaded area that particularly appealed to me is the promenade, deck 5. It’s even got whirlpools that seem to hang over the water at the edge of the ship.
The only drawback I found on that deck is on the starboard side between 12 and 2:30 on sea days, when Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ fired up.
It’s not that the grill is particularly smoky, but the scent of spicy sausages, pulled pork and freshly baked cornmeal biscuits is irresistible. The aromas made it tough to resist the urge to get out of my deck chair and get in line for a helping.
My waistline may never be the same.