Carnival Cruise Lines prides itself on being the “Fun Ships,” and with the introduction of the Seuss at Sea program, the cruise line continues to deliver on that moniker. The program, which debuted on the Carnival Splendor in March 2014, partners Carnival with Dr. Seuss Enterprises on a number of programs aimed at both children and adults. In May, I got to experience some of these programs on the Carnival Breeze with my own children, Elizabeth (age 9) and David (age 5). Afterward, we all agreed that these programs are “musts” for every Carnival cruise guest.
First, we headed to the Limelight Lounge on Deck 5 at the back of the ship for the Seuss-a-Palooza Character Parade. Here, kids were encouraged to grab a Dr. Seuss character sign or banner (think Cindy Lou Who, The Lorax, Sam I Am, etc.) and join the cruise director and several Dr. Seuss characters (our parade included The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, Thing 2 and Sam I Am) for a parade along the ship’s promenade deck to the Ovation Theatre located in the front of the Carnival Breeze.
As we set off, the whole group – kids and adults – were encouraged to shout, “Dr. Seuss on the loose!” As most kids do, my kids loved everything about this parade: carrying their banner, marching through the ship and, of course, shouting at the top of their lungs. Along the way, bystanders laughed and clapped as we passed by. Once we reached the Ovation Theatre, the kids deposited their signs and banners in a bin before making their way up on stage. While many parents opted to join their children onstage, I chose to watch from the first row – close enough to keep an eye on my kids but out of the fray.
In the Ovation Theatre, we prepared for our next activity: Seuss-a-Palooza Story Time. The stage set was straight from a Dr. Seuss book: a custom red-and-white striped tent decorated with a few Dr. Seuss characters. After everyone was situated, our cruise director, Matt, prepared to read “The Cat in the Hat.” However, before doing so, he sought out some volunteers from the crowd to assist with the story. Two children were recruited to play Thing 1 and Thing 2, while a “grumpy” dad played The Cat in the Hat and a “grumpier” mom played the fish.
Once everyone was in place, Matt began to read the story, during which the “actors” were to perform their roles as described. Unfortunately for him, the dad didn’t respond as quickly as expected, and Matt had to repeat his lines more than once. In fact, the children actually started to coach the dad on what he should do, much to the delight of not only the kids, but also to those of us in the audience. Thankfully, the dad took it all in good humor.
Matt was a fantastic storyteller, and the kids really enjoyed hearing one of their favorite stories in a new way. Taking part in the Seuss-a-Palooza Character Parade and the Seuss-a-Palooza Story Time was a wonderful way to spend some time with my kids while encouraging their love of reading and books.
The following day, we took part in yet another Dr. Seuss activity: the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends. This is yet another one of Carnival’s amazing dining experiences. Set up in the Carnival Breeze’s smaller dining room, the Sapphire Restaurant, the room and tables were beautifully decorated with a wonderful array of centerpieces, accents and even ice sculptures that brought the story to life. As we were seated, the kids received a cute activity book with games, activities and a page for character autographs.
The breakfast menu was full of eclectic choices, including Truffula Tree Pancakes, Horton’s Cereal-Crusted French Toast, and Fox in Socks Steak and Eggs. While my son went traditional and ordered green eggs and ham, I decided to try the From There to Here, From Here to There, Funny Belgian Waffles are Everywhere.
When our entrees were delivered, we discovered they, too, carried out the Dr. Seuss theme. My son’s green eggs were truly green; in fact, I’ve never seen such green eggs before. And my waffles featured blue and red dots made of whipped cream. Even the pancakes were an alternating stack of red and white pancakes stacked up like the Cat’s hat. (There are classic breakfast items available, too.)
As we enjoyed our breakfast, we were joined by The Cat in the Hat, Sam I Am, Thing 1 and Thing 2, who posed for pictures and “signed” the kids’ activity books. All the kids – young and old – had a great time filled with food, fun and laughter. It was a fabulous way to kick off the day! NOTE: The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast does require a fee of $5 per person, but I felt this was a nominal fee for an experience my kids couldn’t get anywhere else.
One Seuss at Sea activity that was missing from the Carnival Breeze, Dr. Seuss Bookville is a brightly colored reading room where guests can come to read and enjoy a selection of Dr. Seuss books. This is a great space perfect for some down time with the kids. Currently onboard the Carnival Freedom and coming to the new Carnival Vista, which sets sail in 2016, Dr. Seuss Bookville hopefully will come to more Carnival ships in the near future.
Overall, the Seuss at Sea program is a great addition to Carnival Cruise Lines, and I highly recommend that every guest take advantage of these activities on their next cruise.
Disclosure: Karon and her family cruised with Carnival Cruise Lines and took part in the Seuss at Sea offerings as guests of Carnival Cruise Lines. All opinions expressed herein belong solely to the author.