1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
I just returned from the Breakaway (Nov 8th-15th) and since others helped me plan things based on their reviews, I thought I'd return the favor & try to help someone else. I am in no way a writer so this will be brief, but feel ... Read More
I just returned from the Breakaway (Nov 8th-15th) and since others helped me plan things based on their reviews, I thought I'd return the favor & try to help someone else. I am in no way a writer so this will be brief, but feel free to ask any questions or share your thoughts. To those in my roll call, I'm sorry I did not get to meet you guys. The bar service - I didn't find the staff to be as friendly as on my prior NCL cruises. I felt the bar staff could have smiled a little more & been nicer. Most, not all, seemed put out whenever you would ask for a drink & i noticed this by watching them work, not just when they were serving me directly. MDR's - We ate at Savor twice & Taste once. I found the hostesses to have no personality & I think we may have gotten a smile out of one of them, but it could have been meant for her co-worker lol. The service is Taste was excellent, in Savor it was horrible. We waited for a while to even have someone approach our table to welcome us, we had to call the maitre d over to ask for service. In his defense, he took care of it right away & apologized. But then it took forever to get our food & we had to call him over again. IMO I feel as if he should have been a little more aware as we already had a problem, but maybe he was overworked. The maitre d's in Taste were much more attentive & seemed to be involved in the service. Cruise Director - ours was Scott and I found him to be very good. He had a lot of energy & there were plenty of things going on all day so I thought he did good there. His staff was very good with the exception of his Asst. Zack, he always seemed hungover, tired & totally disinterested. Stateroom - we had a balcony on deck 10. I thought the room was nice, clean, comfortable & plenty of storage. The closet next to the couch is a bit awkward, can get annoying, but there was definitely enough room to move. And you can store your suitcases under the bed so keeps them out of the way. Elevators - others mentioned they thought just 2 banks of them, forward & aft, were not enough but I didn't find that to be the case. I thought where they were was convenient, as for wait times / crowded, depends when you take them of course. Leave a show with everyone, crowded elevator, go to the buffet at 7 am, not too bad Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
Quick Take-aways: 1) All the restaurants were great, but specialty restaurants were fantastic. Get the Ultimate Dining Package if you’re a food lover. Here's a tip: they don’t (willingly) tell you the “Premium” menu ... Read More
Quick Take-aways: 1) All the restaurants were great, but specialty restaurants were fantastic. Get the Ultimate Dining Package if you’re a food lover. Here's a tip: they don’t (willingly) tell you the “Premium” menu entrees at the specialty restaurants (there are usually 2-4 options in each restaurant) are included in the price of the package. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay an additional $8-$15 for those entrée options. A sample “Premium” entrée would be a 32oz Steaks or Maine Lobster. When I was on the ship, the server is the one that told me, and it seemed like no one at Guest Services or the reservation desk knew anything about it. None-the-less, it's available, and it's a great value for food lovers. 2) The Premium Drink Package ($64 per person per night) was definitely worth it if you drink. It covers ALL drinks under $15 (with the exception of bottled water), and that covers 95% of cocktail menus throughout the ship (unless you pick a premium/reserve liquor more expensive than Grey Goose/Hendricks-level liquor). Other Quick Notes: 1) We got the mini-suite, and it was a great deal. The room was really nice, and the raindrop-style shower was fantastic. Having a two-person bathroom sink was great also. The room attendant was great; we were never out of items and the ice bucket was always full. His name was Renato. 2) The Atrium often had shows or activities going on that used their full sound system. That makes all the surrounding locations VERY loud. The locations that surround the loud Atrium are the Café, the Library (seriously), the board game room, and Guest Services, Dining Reservations, Future Cruises, and the Excursions Desk. The very difficult thing is that the Guest Services, Dining Reservations, Future Cruises, and the Excursions Desk all require you to be able to hear the employee, and we regularly needed to lean all the way in to hear what we were saying to each other. 3) We got the Thermal Spa pass for the week, and I used it every day. The changing rooms are great, and the spa rooms (steam room, sauna, samarium) were great. They also have a Salt Room in the Spa, but I have no idea what it does. It’s like a decorated room that isn’t hot or therapeutic, that I could decipher. The Thermal Pool was empty of water for 2 days because of a crack, which was eventually fixed. The Spa’s heated seats were not working one day. The last downside to the spa is that I didn’t see attendants monitoring other passengers "toweling" the heated seats and other regular seats. “Toweling” is when someone puts their towel on a seat to hold it, and then leave the seat for an undetermined amount of time. This was annoying because some seats seemed to be “toweled” all day. 4) What was surprising about this cruise is that a LOT of the staff were not friendly. They would give you help if you needed it, but I felt unwelcome or unwanted somewhat regularly. It was a big turn-off. But it was really nice to forget about those staff when you get a GREAT staff member. TIP THOSE STAFF! They deserve it. 5) For some reason, the weather forecast wasn’t available, so you couldn't know what type of excursions you should book. I was on the fence about some excursions, and knowing what the weather was would have been helpful. 6) We did all the shows, and they were all pretty good. The Jungle Fantasy Dinner was good, but don't go expecting to pay attention to the meal. The show is on the entire time, and there were one or two times when I was cutting my food to hear everyone gasp and applause and I missed it. Also, use the restroom BEFORE the show. They don't like people walking around the show when it's in progress. The Burn the Floor was not as good as the time I saw it on the Getaway a few years back. I was raving about it to my friends, and we were all a little underwhelmed. The Rock of Ages show was entertaining and engaging, but it's definitely for a mature crowd. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
Let me start by saying this is my 3rd Norwegian cruise and definitely the most disappointing. The ship is large with a good amount of activities and restaurants which is the only thing I found nice about it. My balcony room was very ... Read More
Let me start by saying this is my 3rd Norwegian cruise and definitely the most disappointing. The ship is large with a good amount of activities and restaurants which is the only thing I found nice about it. My balcony room was very nice, good size and set up. It is overcrowded. It feels very pedestrian and you will constantly be fighting a crowd. The atrium area is where they decided to put on most games and entertainment however this is the same area as guest service. I mean, what were they thinking with this annoying set up? It's just horrible. First off, the casino takes up practically the entire 7th floor. Not just that but there is an open balcony to the 6th and 8th floor where there are restaurants, hallways, bars, etc. All filled with the smell of cigarette smoke coming from the casino. So if you don't wish to gamble and smoke you still have to suffer through the stench of those floors being subject to all the smoking in the casino. Secondly, the some of the staff was not all that friendly and very slow. As the other posts, you are looking at 20 minutes to wait to even order your food. The hostesses sometimes look annoyed that you are even there. You are charged for soft drinks even if you have the beverage package. You are charged to go to some shows, you have to reserve every show because they made the venues smaller as well as the theater. I guess to make more room for the enormous casino. The pool has only a handful of chairs that are in the sun while 98% are in covered areas. So you are going to the top deck if you want sun but have to walk through large crowds and down the stairs to take a quick dip in the tiny pool. There is wasted space called the "marketplace" next to the pool where absolutely nothing went on. This could have been laid out better with more chairs in the sun and lose the marketplace. The shows, "burn the floor" and "jungle cirque" were very good while "rock of ages" was kitschy and should be replaced with a better show that would appeal to the masses as opposed to a tasteless crowd of teenagers. I've been on other ships and they had acapella groups, acrobats, etc, and really enjoyed it. I didn't like the fact that the main party/club area was only outdoors. In other ships, the cafe has an open outdoor area so you can have breakfast outside while he main party lounge was indoors. So what happened, it was windy or rainy and so the parties at Spice H20 were mostly empty or cancelled due to weather. I'd much rather they just keep the lounge as a closed area so we can party no matter the weather and let me enjoy breakfast and lunch outdoors. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
This ship is only 3 years old so it's in great condition with most things being almost new. The only exception is the casino which has that "very smoked in" environment. The non-smoking section of the casino is in the middle ... Read More
This ship is only 3 years old so it's in great condition with most things being almost new. The only exception is the casino which has that "very smoked in" environment. The non-smoking section of the casino is in the middle of the casino, so yes the smoking goes around it. Made no sense to me, so being allergic I didn't spend much time there. The new ships have a few high end shopping stores but unless you are into Jewelry there is not much interest. They lead you to believe there are several dining options however the 3 main dining options are all the same only the rooms are different. Same menu and food coming from the same kitchen. There is a pub that offers a few pub like items. The last 2 days of the cruise the menu in the pub changed for the worse. NCL explains they are giving people more dining options by having one menu that is included in the price you paid for the cruise and then a tier system for higher priced dining items which you could pay extra for. This is for the guests benefit.... ??? They have an arcade, bowling, games onboard but all of these cost extra. Food was good slightly better than on the smaller, older ships. The entertainment choices are wider. Rather than just watch the nightly broadway type show in the theatre you can also go to a comedy club, or dancing in Bliss, go listen to Jazz in Fat Cats so there are many options. The famous NCL white hot party is now the GLOW party. I preferred the white hot. It was a lot of hype and the DJ transforms all the songs into Dance music so they all sound the same. Really how much time does one want to spend jumping up and down. That's not dancing. Those who like to dance and listen to songs that don't all sound the same left early so that's shame. Past cruises we used to look forward to this party. It probably doesn't help the average age of guests on board are approx. 65. I would recommend this ship if you get a "deal". Then you get your moneys worth. Cruise On. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
I booked a balcony cabin at the aft of the ship. PRE CRUISE I had a ship visit in BRISTOL so booked a klm flight to AMSTERDAM then a train to ROTTERDAM the trains were so packed i had to waited ages to get on the nest one. HOTEL. ... Read More
I booked a balcony cabin at the aft of the ship. PRE CRUISE I had a ship visit in BRISTOL so booked a klm flight to AMSTERDAM then a train to ROTTERDAM the trains were so packed i had to waited ages to get on the nest one. HOTEL. I stayed at the MARITIME HOTEL overlooking the PORT. I have used this hotel before and always had a lovely cooked breakfast but this time hardly anything cook and all the meat and cheese had gone. Plus the wi fi was awful my laptop could not even pick it up. EMBARKATION I walked over to the port and joined the queue got a color card but was not told i had to check in 1st so when my card was called handed it in and then had to to check in and then had to explain i had no card. CABIN. BALCONY cabin aft DECK 14. Has to ask if the cabins were ready and then find it myself. No sign of the steward. No ashtray and no ice i called for these and hours later nothing if i had not seen the steward later i would have got neither! the mini bar was locked and was not going to be opened. the bathroom was ok apart from no proper soap. FOOD Market cafe cafe was full up so had to go outside to sit and the revolving door kept stopping. No trays or any mention of washing your hands. DINNER i had in the CIRQUE DREAM AND DINNER only 1 food choice and the wine was too pricey. ENTERTAINMENT Only did the CIRQUE DREAMS JUNGLE FANTASY which was worth every penny of the $29.99 sadly no pictures or video allowed. i wanted to see "RICK OF AGES!" but this had changed to "ROCK OF AGES" and the show was full. i much prefer a dinner and walk in show. LIFEBOAT DRILL A good location in the restaurant names cabins go into their machine but no talk from the captain then it was over. LIBRARY Very poor selection CIGAR ROOM A great idea but much too small BOWLING Sure small ships have a big one but only 2 lanes??? DISEMBARKATION Very quick had to take own luggage off and no shuttle to the station. FUTURE AWARDS A great idea paying $250 towards a deposit on another cruise and $100 off your bill but no interest i9n booking a cruise and no brochures at all!! OVERALL IMPRESSION better than the one on the EPIC 2 years ago which was 3 hours waiting to get onboard and 1 engine failing. But i think the ship is too big and does not have some things smaller ships have. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
We flew the day before from London to Rotterdam with British Airways, It is so easy so have a direct fight from London. We arrived in Rotterdam and made our own way to the Hilton Rotterdam by tramway. The cost was around 3.50 euro per ... Read More
We flew the day before from London to Rotterdam with British Airways, It is so easy so have a direct fight from London. We arrived in Rotterdam and made our own way to the Hilton Rotterdam by tramway. The cost was around 3.50 euro per person. We booked an executive room as you pay a bit more but receive a lot more advantages like drinks and nibbles, breakfast. On the morning of the mini cruise, we walked all the way to the ship to burn the calories from the breakfast. That way we could also see the hull and the design from Peter Max. I found the design very nice. The embarkation process in Rotterdam was very disorganised. No proper lines to enter the cruise terminal, nobody from NCL around. Dutch people who don't know where to start a line and just jump in or push to get in front of you. The port of Rotterdam staff need to go to the USA for some training. We were handed a colour card to give you access to the ship as they arranged boarding by colour. When we finally arrived in the terminal, we went directly to the Latitude check-in area. One lady was asking us to wait while the checking agent was asking for us to go to the desk. Again no organisation. We finally boarded the ship 30 minutes after we checked in. When we arrived aboard, one of us went directly to the room to put or bags and the other one went to book the restaurant Moderno for that evening. We were in a mini suite and we could not really tell the difference with a normal balcony stateroom. Just that you have a larger bathroom and a better shower. The balcony was very small. Tea and coffee facilities were available in the room. We went for lunch to the Garden Cafe before the rush. The food selection was amazing. You could find for every taste. Asian, Indian, pasta, sandwiches, salads, burgers,... The quality was excellent too. For me one of the best buffer at sea. We started to tour the ship. The ship was very clean, all the staff aboard were smiling and saying hello. This is going a long way with us and from that we can see that the staff is very happy. The ship was very nice. Maybe a bit of lack of space at the pool area. I could not imagine a day at sea in the Caribbean. It would have been packed. The pools are very small too for a ship of this size. The boat drill at 3.30pm was a bit chaotic. The sail away from Rotterdam was very nice. For dinner we went to Moderno, the Brazilian restaurant. The service and the food were excellent. Well worth paying the $20. If you are a vegetarian, do not go there as you would only be able to eat the salad bar. After dinner, we went to see the show. We were a bit disappointed that Rock of Ages was cancelled due to the lead singer being a bit sick. The replacement show was excellent. 10 out of 10. Again one of the best show at sea. In the evening, we walked around the ship and discover the ambiance aboard. We went to the martini bar and decided to have a cocktail there and listen to the pianist. The lady had a great voice. A shame that some rude Dutch people could not stop screaming. They were drunk and they should have been asked to leave the area. Also one inconvenient from the area was the smell of people smoking in the casino. The morning of disembarkation, we decided to go to the Garden Cafe for breakfast. The place was full and this with only 2000 passengers aboard. I could not imagine if the ship would have been full. We didn't have the choice than to seat in the outside area. Disembarkation was again a bit chaotic. Would I spend a week aboard NCL Breakaway, maybe I would. I am not decided yet. Did it get the wow factor like our week aboard Oasis of the Seas. No. Did it get our wow factor to compare with NCL Epic. Yes. My 3 tops on this one night cruise: - The great staff of Norwegian Breakaway - The excellent food served - The excellent show My 3 downsize: - The checking was disorganised - The smoking areas inside the ship and outside the ship - You can't find a quiet corner if you would like to read a book Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
This was a perfect example of how better NOT to introduce past or future (paying!) customers to a new ship or product!! Boarding did not start till shortly before noon, no explanation why and despite the fact some 2000-3000 passengers ... Read More
This was a perfect example of how better NOT to introduce past or future (paying!) customers to a new ship or product!! Boarding did not start till shortly before noon, no explanation why and despite the fact some 2000-3000 passengers were already checked in, waiting to be let on board, hoarded like cattle. Not a good start. There was absolutely no reception of the passengers. Since it was some sort of an inaugural sailing, well it was the first sailing with paying passengers, one would have at least expected a welcome glass of champagne. No, not with NCL, nothing comes free with them. Staterooms were of course ready by the time we boarded ( they only had agents on the night before anyways which surely did not trash the ship ), again no sight of any recognition or welcome aboard or any other approach or appreciation. One leaflet was delivered later in the afternoon but that was it. Not even the arrival time or deboarding process in Southampton was explained or mentioned. No ice in the buckets, a sealed fridge, no attendants nearby, nada, nothing. I did not even hear the captain speak, I guess that's falling out of fashion with NCL these days since I did only thear the captain once(!!) on an 11 day Jade cruise recently Not a good first impression. The ship was full, again, how can you do that if you want to show your new product and make sure it "shines"? So instead it seemed extremely crowded everywhere and in the end left me disliking this otherwise pretty ship, uncertain whether I want to book NCL again in the future. I did go to Ocean Blu restaurant for dinner, paid the premium charge of USD 35.- After all the hype about the restaurant I was quite puzzled to see how small and tucked away it was. Well, dinner was very good, but one incident again left me puzzled with NCL's strategy and attitude towards customers. When I asked whether I could have a second appetizer, the soup, I was told I had to pay an addition for this and in the end was charged an additional USD 4,25 on top of the cover charge of USD35.-. Unbelievably cheap from NCL, especially given the fact that all the portions were extremely small and the main course, obviously a fish, had absolutely nothing on the side, no rice, no potato, no veg no nothing. It was just a fish, well done, but still simply not enough as a main course. I left for the show after dinner, which , without any information other than on the daily planner, had been changed from Rock of Ages to Burn th Floor. Ths show was nothing to write home about and simply was not well received by a European audience. Quiete a few people got up and left early. I felt sorry for the dancers who were incredibly good! Other impressions from the ship: - Haven area - did not look half as nice as on Epic but might be better suitable for NYC cruises. If Getaaway however will feature the exact same enclosed area, I doubt that it is gonna be a success. - Sports Complex on deck absolutely fabulous, the Aqua Park slides are amazing and so is "The Plank". - Waterfront . The weather wasn't cooperating so I won't comment on this. It looked good and could work just fine and as advertised! -Ths ship is quite identical to the Epic when it comes to its looks. It has a lot more glass and thus views of the ocean but it is also smaller which, if full, leaves you with a " way too many people" feeling. - POSH Beach Club excellent, better rhan on Epic. - Pools small, the whole deck area a big improvement over Epic but still quite "packed". - Buffet. Very crowded, selection quite basic with not too much variety. The revolving doors to the buffet, whoever thought of that should be slapped on the head. Nightmare and will lead to a lot of anger! - My inside cabin did not even have a picture on the wall. Very basic, very very small, much too small by today's standards. - Gym has now been divided into one area for cardio ( they have the views ) and one area for the weights ( they are tucked away ). Did not care for it. - Spa looked quite nice but is probably too small on a longer and sold out cruise. So overall Breakaway was not my cup of tea. NCL's beahviour/attitude towards the guests on this cruise makes me look elsewhere first. They made it very clear that they did not value the European guests on this mini cruise. All the talks, all the advertisement is geard towards Americans. So where does that leave us Europeans. I guess we are just good enough to fill the Jade... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2013
NCL newest ship The Norwegian Breakaway just completed its first 1 night cruise from Rotterdam to Southampton and I was one of the lucky ones on this maiden cruise. I will give you a full and detailed review of the ship. Firstly the ... Read More
NCL newest ship The Norwegian Breakaway just completed its first 1 night cruise from Rotterdam to Southampton and I was one of the lucky ones on this maiden cruise. I will give you a full and detailed review of the ship. Firstly the ship itself is much better looking than its sister Epic but still its not so eye catching as some may want. The Waterfront promenade from what I saw does not seem to offer more than seats outside an restaurant or entertainment venue. There is the ice cream parlour on this promenade. When the ship sails in warmer climates the limited number of seats outside will be taken quickly or maybe pre bookable. I think that this a let down. Inside the 3 deck Atrium which houses the majority of entertainment, dining and services is in my opinion very plain. This is the same all over the same, it just very plain in decor. Nothing that says wow. By putting more dining and entertainment venues this has made all them all small. For example the Bliss night club was packed and there were only 1575 guests on this short cruise, what will happen when the ship is full. The same goes for dining options The Mahatten Room with its dance floor and one of the 3 main dining rooms was 'red' ie fully booked for 2 hours and Taste and Savor (the other 2 main dining rooms) were nearly full. This leads me on to the Buffet which on boarding was a bit chaotic again not enough seats and the rectangle layout is not so good. Again this area is not themed and lacks any decor. The food in all dining options was good, cooked well and enjoyable. Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy Dinner Show is worth the $29.99 standard seating fee or $39.99 premium fee. The menu is a set menu of 3 courses starting with a Salad, followd by Surt n Turf (jumbo battered prawns with steak, a piece of broccoli and half jacket potato with the inners taken out and reput in masked) followed by a Trio of little cakes/desserts on a long dish. The show itself lasts 90 minutes and this is non stop so you have to watch and eat at the same time, there are no pauses such as in Cirque Dreams on Dinner. There is no speaking in the show and no such story line- just very good acrobots, over 300 costumes and recorded music. This is still very enjoyable. I was in a Studio stateroom/cabin and these are bigger than on Epic. I was actually surprised on the size of them and at a push you could just fit 2 adults on the bed. Just like on Epic the shower and toilet are separate. Some of these cabins have connecting doors. Rock of Ages was not shown on this cruise and instead we had the other Broadway show they perform 'Burn the Floor'. if you like Strictly Come Dancing you will like this. Along with singing it mainly consists dancing, more dancing and more dancing. Not really my cup of tea but it was performed well. The casino on the ship is the biggest at the sea with more slot machines than I saw in my whole Las Vegas trip. The machines start at 1 cent a spin going up to $25 for those with deep pockets. There are a wide range of table games from the usual Roulette, Poker etc. The outside pool is on the small side again more space is taken up with the 5 big water slides than fill up half of the top deck. They were open but it was a bit cold to use. The Ropes courses with The Walk The Plank was good and enjoyable though the crew said that if the sea is anything more than choppy and the slip is slightly moving up or down or rocking this will be closed. It is too dangerous otherwise. The Spa with the worlds first Salt Bath at sea is large and well equipped with also houses the gym (on two sides, one has a seaview the other hasn't just a mirror). A day pass for the spa was $20. Fat Cats and Slaam Allen (from Epic) was onboard and performing and still as good as I remember it. Duelling Pianos is back along with the Comedy Club. Bliss Nightclub is too small and only about 10 seats. Breakfast in Savour main dining was good but service was bit on the slow side and they were not busy. Crew on this were as the cruise director put it 'The Best of the Best', the majority had transferred from Epic. I saw a lot of faces I had seen before. I was lucky enough to see a range of cabins/staterooms as they were getting ready for Travel Agents ship visits, the suites are well equipped but have tiny balconies. Overall a good 1 night cruise but the ship is not so pleasing to the eye inside and NCL in making so many different things to do/eat have made so small that people will not get a seat or even get in a venue. Any questions please ask. Quality of Food 4 OUT OF 5 Entertainment 4 OUT OF 5 Shore Excursions n/a Staff 5 OUT OF 5 Children's Facilities N/A Onboard Activities 4 OUT OF 5 Cabins 4 OUT OF 5 Overall Rating 4 OUT OF 5 Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2013
We were on the Breakaway for two nights, one night sailing from Rotterdam to Southampton, then an overnight in Southampton, staying in the Haven Deluxe Owners Suite 16102. Embarkation If you are ever sailing from Rotterdam stay in ... Read More
We were on the Breakaway for two nights, one night sailing from Rotterdam to Southampton, then an overnight in Southampton, staying in the Haven Deluxe Owners Suite 16102. Embarkation If you are ever sailing from Rotterdam stay in the Hotel New York, the old Holland America Line building which is literally a minute away from the Cruise Terminal. Staying in their Loft Suite meant we could go onto our roof terrace and watch Breakaway come up the river and tie up literally yards away, and so the excitement begins! She has a classic design without the Epic top hat, and you either love or hate the hull art work, personally I think it's rather cool. Boarding was a breeze, and we ended up maintaining the Butler family tradition (since the Sun) of being the first fare paying passengers to board; being met at the gangway by Denis Prguda the Hotel Director who brought Breakaway into service, a man we've sailed with before and a real professional. The first impression of Breakaway (as with all NCL ships) is WOW, classy, elegant and fun looking, and as you explore the ship it is obvious she is the daughter of Epic and the granddaughter of the Jewel Class ships. Albeit after a while you realise she is Deluxe Epic on Steroids. Throughout this review I will refer to comparison with Epic, so apologise to those who have not sailed on Epic you should. The Haven As usual with Haven guests we were escorted to the Haven by our butler Lucky Lee who has looked after us before and as we discovered later had set the wet bar in our suite exactly how we like it. Unlike Epic the entrance to the Haven is nowhere near as grand, but hey a door's a door. Walking into the reception we were met by Ruth Hagger (who we've known for more years that either of us likes to admit) and the lovely Elvina De Meneses who we last saw on Epic. Ruth was her usual friendly and professional self, ensuring we knew about the reserved seating for the Burn the Floor show that evening in the Theatre. The Haven area has a comfortable bar and meeting area, and an elegant dining room, neither of which are as large as Epic but there are less Haven guests so I don't think this will be a problem as they have less Haven guests to cater for. Fortunately (especially for winter in New York) the Haven has a moveable full glass roof, so no problems with wind and inclement weather. The area itself is much superior to Epic with beautiful items including a stunning and very impressive green planted wall feature. The colours are muted with many beds and sofas/chairs, with a really nice feature being a surrounding balcony on deck 17 under the glass roof with even more beds and sofas. So this is a super place to sit and relax especially for the suites with compact balconies, and we always like to have breakfast here as opposed to the dining room. Pools, hot-tub, sauna and Spa treatment rooms (as on Epic) compliment the Haven area, although the small pool appeared not to have a swim against system? There were a large number of day visitors on the ship before we sailed, so I have no doubt that the Haven will provide more than enough space, comfort, luxury and enjoyment for its guests when cruising. The food in the restaurant was as usual up to the high standards we have come to expect, and it was nice to catch up with lots of crew who we've known from past cruises just like coming home to a family get together. The Deluxe Owners Suite (16102) At the front of the ship above the Mandara Spa with a wraparound balcony what a spectacular suite, except for the Garden Villas, the finest suite in the fleet. The colours, design and finish are magnificent, as we walked in we were just wowed by it, the lounge is stunning with masses of space, a large dining table and even larger sofa which I believe turns into a bed. The wet bar as I said had been stocked correctly by Lucky and I was pleased to see that NCL have kept the same glorious coffee machines, and there is enough technology to keep even me amused. The sound system is still Bose but It's a shame that the surround sound speakers have disappeared. I suspect that is because it's possible to remove the adjoining wall to the next Owners Suite, now that makes some accommodation, find a hot tub and it's nearly a Garden Villa! The whole front of the lounge, as well as the bedroom and bathroom, have a glass wall and doors that open onto an enormous wrap around balcony, with loungers table and chairs. Arturo Guerrero (VP Hotel & Newbuild Operations/Development) who we've had fun with on previous new builds came up to check on us and bet me (unlike Epic) that I wouldn't find anything wrong or missing with the suite. Lucky for me I found one screw on the balcony that had not been tightened. He of course had it fixed within the hour, but still paid his wager. There is no doubt that Breakaway meets all the quality build standards that come from Meyer Werft. Into the very large and comfortable bedroom, with fantastic views through to the plush and luxurious bathroom. A large corner tub with windows on two sides, a very large shower again with a glass wall to the side, dual vanity sinks and everything else you would need in a luxury suite. A very large dressing area leads back into the hallway with a well-appointed guest bathroom. The only other observation about this beautiful suite is that there is more storage space than we've ever seen in any suite (in any hotel let alone ship). Dark wood and soft touch opening drawers and cupboards, although as Pamela said she'd hate to be the steward (ours was Noel) responsible for cleaning the finger marks off. A great example of fantastic design ignoring practicality and functionality, but beautiful all the same. The Ship In two days it's impossible to review the whole ship, so I will focus on the areas we enjoyed and stood out to us. You need at least two weeks on Breakaway to experience the whole ship and she definitely warrants at least that much time. Breakaway has restaurants and then some, Norwegian classics and new additions with the exciting and innovative feature of outdoor dining to many of them along the superb Waterfront, which is a brilliant feature and one NCL should be very proud of. As well as the Haven we ate in Cirque Dreams and Dinner Jungle Fantasy, the show is mind boggling and even better than Epic, the tent seating all tables on one floor with standard seating around the edge and premium nearer the action. We sat at one of the two elevated stage tables which provided a superb view, although from what we saw everyone had a great view of a mesmerising performance. The set menu was excellent, although as we were so enthralled with the performance the food was really an afterthought but delicious nonetheless, this experience is a must do on Breakaway. The other must do as far as dining is concerned is dinner at Ocean Blue with the Raw Bar alongside, the menu by Geoffrey Zakarian is simply brilliant, fine dining at its best. My dover sole was to die for and Pamela says her crab risotto was even better; a truly memorable experience, and worth every cent. With inside and outside dining this restaurant is worth making a beeline for. Of course we had to have cocktails in the Ice Bar which seemed slightly smaller (but probably wasn't) than Epic. The New York theme was very much different from Epic, and I would say we missed the actual ice bar inside the cool room. What's a Norwegian cruise without donning the snow cape? Pamela spent a few hours in the Mandara Spa, coming back invigorated and rejuvenated, she loved the time in the Salt Room and very much enjoyed La Therapie Oxy-Polish facial. All in all a great success. The Casino is a very important and key feature for us, we had a great time 'investing' dollars with NCL, met lots of our old casino friends, who always smile as they manage our investment! The set- up is almost identical to Epic, Rimarie Manzano, the Casino Host and Jules Boligao the Casino Fleet Host Manager were charming and attentive as always and made us both very welcome. It was terrific to see that Le Bistro has been brought back to prominence by NCL with a superb location on Deck 6 where the venue actually looks like a classic bistro in Paris. Therefore, Platinum Latitudes members will enjoy meals in fine surroundings as well, of course, as all the other guests on Breakaway. A few very happy hours were spent in Fat Cats Jazz Club and it was especially enjoyable as they brought Slam Allen and his Blues Band from Epic, a venue to spend many hours listening to superlative jazz. We strolled all around the Waterfront seeing all the outside elements of each restaurant. as well as a great outdoor seating area for Maltings. As I said, the Waterfront is a brilliant idea and I am sure that the glass windbreaks along the walkways will ensure dining comfort. The pool and sundecks are everything one comes to expect, the meccano style rope area and walk the plank looked fun, although I didn't have time to try any of it. The crazy golf has an amusing and challenging course recommended only for golfers with a 10 handicap or less! As always a basketball court is available (mainly for the crew if any of our other cruises are to go by)! The colourful and breath taking waterslides are going to give endless hours of fun for all and H2O looks like a party location for the outdoor evenings. I think I liked VIBE, although I preferred POSH on Epic. I am not sure the design and set-up has been completely thought through, but I have no doubt it will be a success and the cabanas are a great idea for the lucky few who secure them. Back to the restaurants, the Garden Cafe looked spacious and again a similar design to Epic, every food station accessible and what looked like a great choice of dining. The Uptown bar and grill near H2O also looked like an interesting venue to spend some quality eating and drinking time in. Cagneys and Moderno are set up exactly like Epic on each side of the stern of the ship with the centre tables overlooking the Manhattan Room below. It seems that Cagneys has a new menu and a number of people we spoke to commented very positively about the quality of the steaks. Savour and Taste, together with the now classic O'Sheehan's are all well located and complete the eating areas providing great choice and menus. The centre of the Ship on decks 6 through to 8 have the new Norwegian signature very large LED chandelier changing mood and colour as the day drifts by. This is the hub of bars, restaurants, shopping and entertainment and it is great place to people watch and while the time away. (Assuming you have any of course)! Again like Epic Teppanyaki is a big feature with numerous eating/cooking stations which generate a fun atmosphere, great food and entertainment. Whilst catching up with lots of old crew friends, we met up with Andy Stuart and Francis Riley and of course, the inimitable and world famous Klaus Lugmaier, all who were beaming from ear to ear about Breakaway and justifiably so, as she is a fantastic ship and will no doubt become NCL's number one very quickly. However, in closing, there is one point I must make, NCL designs and builds innovative ships, however, they are only steel, wood, glass etc. What makes NCL stand out for us, and ensures we come back time and time again, are the Crew, some of who we consider close friends and indeed, some we have known for over 15 years. NCL recruits, trains, retains and motivates the best crew sailing and to them Pamela and I say a very heartfelt THANK YOU. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We had booked the inaugural Transatlantic cruise of the Breakaway in August having learned of its impending sailing last winter when we cruised the Gem from NY to Bahamas. Based upon marketing both on the Gem as well as the intense ... Read More
We had booked the inaugural Transatlantic cruise of the Breakaway in August having learned of its impending sailing last winter when we cruised the Gem from NY to Bahamas. Based upon marketing both on the Gem as well as the intense advertising in the NYC area, we were looking forward to this cruise with great expectations. There was already a minor hint that all would not be up to standard when instead of the usual NCL welcome mailing with luggage tags, we were instructed simply to print our own. This meant laminating the tags for fear that printer-paper tags could rip and become detached. And it meant carrying a portable stapler to attach the tags. We were concerned what other cost-cutting measures we would find. We flew New York to London and spent a few strenuous days walking London and on the morning of the April 30 sailing, took the train to Southampton. While the lounge in the Southampton terminal was crowded, boarding was relatively quick and efficient. Boarding the ship, we had a slight feeling of disappointment that we saw no real indication of "maiden voyage" festivities. Nonetheless, the staterooms were ready immediately so we put down the carry ons in our Spa Balcony deck 14 forward cabin and began to explore. First stop was the Mandara spa since we both like to spend time in the spa, partake of numerous treatments and fall prey to the Elimis product pitches. I will say at this point that when we booked, the NCL web site clearly stated that Spa Balcony and Spa Suite cabins were entitled to complimentary thermals. The spa manager informed us that the thermal access was only for spa suite passengers, not spa balcony, and wanted to charge us $146 per person for the week's access. Standing beside us was a gentleman who has, I believe, Gold status with NCL. He had been told the same information and had just returned from clarifying the situation with customer service. He also reported that his interaction with customer service was not totally satisfactory, but I'll not repeat hearsay evidence. Both the other gentleman and my wife and I were then told by the spa manager that she would give us access. No apology for the confusion. No owning of the problem. Just "a concession." In fact, my overall impression of this cruise is that NCL never owned a single mistake. I'll begin with the Thermals and spa. The Spa sold day passes as well as week passes to thermals. They sold out after day 1. The spa (like the rest of the ship, which I'll detail below) was crowded and the facilities were just not adequate for the 2800 or so passengers reportedly on-board. I shudder to think what will happen with the full 4000 passenger capacity. We made little use of the Thermals because of this crowding, the periodic malfunction of the whirlpool and the great difficulty in securing one of the few heated stone lounge chairs. The Salt Room malfunctioned twice while we were present and the very attentive assistant spa manager Sam cleaned the salt outlet once. Sam was terrific, responsive, and always helpful. Spa treatments and all personnel were great. Our spa balcony cabin was decorated in subdued colors as advertised. The bed was comfortable and while a little short on storage space, storage was adequate. I do not care for the design of placing the closet beside the bed so I think layout could definitely have been improved. Our cabin attendant was great. Only two towel animals, though, and call us corny-- but we like towel animals. We also noticed that cabin makeup didn't begin until late morning or even early afternoon. We heard numerous comments from other passengers about that. We needed to make a few trips to customer service desk for various questions. Service could have been better and we found English lacking in several of the representatives. That made changing an entertainment booking quite cumbersome. A good lead to entertainment. The theater didn't seem much larger than other NCL smaller ships. I think the fact that reservations were required even for free shows indicates that NCL expects crowding. There was ample entertainment in theater (Burn the Floor was pretty amazing). We missed Rock of Ages which was fine since we also missed most of the 80's. Cirque Dreams was a phenomenal show and the Spiegel tent is a terrific venue that puts the audience directly with the entertainers. NCL's great marketing hype is Freestyle-- meaning eat when you want at many venues. And the Breakaway was hyped for its numerous restaurants. But the food was all the same. The three main dining rooms had virtually the same menus with perhaps a dish or two variation and a daily "destination specialty." Service was spotty. Sometimes fast; sometimes agonizingly slow. This again could be newness and I forgive those glitches. But the food seemed neither as plentiful or as good as last winter's Gem cruise. I had a definite feeling that significant cost-cutting was evident as was the push to the extra-cost restaurants to break away from the monotony of three restaurants, two cafes and a buffet all serving the same food. Our only extra-cost meal was at Cagney's. I ordered the 8 oz filet but was served the 5 oz. The waiter said "maybe I can get the chef to give you another steak after you finish that." But we both rarely eat red meat so supernatural forces no doubt caused that ordering error knowing that 5 oz was enough red meat. The steaks, by the way, were done properly to medium-rare and very tasty. The rib eye at the Manhattan Room (I succumbed to my blood lust) didn't fare as well. It looked and tasted exactly like low-end chain by-the-side-of-the-highway "steak houses." A real utility cut of meat. The Garden Cafe had the usual buffet fare. Not every dish was labeled, however, And what was really disconcerting and smacked of cost-cutting was that not every table had salt and pepper shakers. So you got to know your fellow passengers begging for the use of the salt and pepper if you sat an unlucky table. Throughout all of this, we felt let down that all of the "special events" were planned for the NYC launch and that an attitude prevailed of "we're getting the ship across the pond so we might as well make a little revenue and shake out some bugs with you 2800 beta-testers." It's nothing that was said. It's what was unsaid. Venues-- Fat Cats-- Wow! What a blues singer! Atrium-- far too small. And playing the same NYC tourism video over and over (particularly agonizing for me as a video professional because it was shot so poorly). No movies. In cabin movies were $10 and as one would expect (no fault of NCL) the satellite reception was sketchy. Ice Bar-- a really cool idea. But with a $20 cover including a choice of 2 very bizarre drinks, we passed. Gelato- supposedly open 12-5 but we never found it open. And extra charge. Carlo's Bake Shop-- only had a cannoli and it wasn't cream filled in the middle. That's NY Italian? Fagettaboutit. A Transatlantic crossing is going to be chilly. Only two days were somewhat suitable on deck. But for an inaugural voyage, why not some outdoor heaters to make the outdoor eating and bar venues more accessible. Other lines do that. NCL also hypes the "Waterfront" of al fresco dining. But we counted the seats and tables outdoors. Each of these specialty restaurants On The Waterfront had no more than 10 seats outdoors. Kevin Sheehan was on board and gave a presentation. Many of us were hoping it would be an opportunity for feedback and dialog. Instead, we had a 35-minute investor relations presentation. More advertising hype and self-homage from the self-described savior of the company. Only 3 questions were taken at the end, none of which dealt with passenger concerns and feedback (both positive and negative). We left feeling that NCL had really missed the opportunity to turn us into loyal passengers. Again, other than the spa, nothing was really wrong. But we just felt that something was missing and the experience was far less than the prior year on the Gem. I suppose that moves us on the typical survey scale from "Would Not Consider Any Other Line" to "Would Consider NCL Among Other Choices". We can say with some degree of certainty that our next cruise will be with a different line. Disembarkation from the Gem was pure chaos. The NYC arrival was the exact opposite. In fact, it was so smooth that it was ahead of schedule and we were off the ship and through customs even before our 8:45AM scheduled disembarkation. In summary, we enjoyed our vacation. It could have been more enjoyable and NCL just doesn't seem to live up to its advertising hype. The little amenities weren't there. The service was spotty. The ship was gorgeous but it was a skin-deep beauty. The ship was very crowded and this was with only 2800 passengers. Breakaway is slightly broken. How much of this comes from the ship and how much from corporate is another matter. Bottom line-- we had a lot of fun and relaxation. The total experience could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
I booked the crossing nearly 18 months ago, and with great gusto, I finally boarded the Breakaway in Southampton on April 30th. (I booked directly with NCL prior to deck layouts and announcements of amenities). I traveled with 3 ... Read More
I booked the crossing nearly 18 months ago, and with great gusto, I finally boarded the Breakaway in Southampton on April 30th. (I booked directly with NCL prior to deck layouts and announcements of amenities). I traveled with 3 friends. Each of us had our own exterior cabins. I was not disappointed. I was elated that the ship was sailing about 2 thirds full which lends itself to having more space then usually. Checkin was fine. NCL announced boarding between 11 and noon and that is what occurred. Passing security was easy, and checkin was handled well with no issues. The terminal had seating for passengers waiting to board (passengers were issued color codes for boarding order). No rush. No big deal. The idea worked well for those in my group. All in our party checked in online. The porter provided baggage tags upon arrival to the terminal. We arrived at the terminal at 11:15, passed security, checked-in, waited with our fellow passengers and were on the ship by noon. Ship staff was immediately available for answering of questions - where can we make show reservations? Where can we make dining reservations? Is there a drink package - water bottle package? and so on....Each question was answered with conviction, and directions to the appropriate area were provided. We did not experience any lines while we walked through the ship checking items off of our to-do list. Cabin 13144 had a balcony (port side). I found the room better then Epic as the room had 90-degree angles (no curves). Storage was ample and the bathroom was a good size. In the shower hot water came up fast. Pressure was nice. Toilet flushed when needed. I appreciated that the inside cabins were not across the hall, but rather in corridors between Port and Starboard. Cabin staff was wonderful. My cabin was spotless at all times. "Robert" addressed me whenever he saw me. He was great. We did participate in the gym classes taking several Fly Wheel and TRX classes. We found the knowledge of the instructors helpful. Flywheel is amazing and will do well with the NY market. The workout area is split into cardio (with windows), and weight rooms across the hall. The rooms are tight of space which requires a bit more politeness then on other ships. It works. Often the ships performers are working out. They are friendly and could be your special workout buddy or spotter. We did do mani and pedi and had a great time. We are not light weights so we also purchased training sessions and thought the trainers did a great job working us out and tried to break us. Deck space. Much better then Epic. More loungers then Epic. There are 3 decks for strolling. All exposed to the elements, but your on the ocean. Get outside! All strolling decks provided enough space for walking and lounging to coexist. Dining. We ate at the buffet, included rooms and fee rooms. We enjoyed all of them. We over heard other passengers complaining about the lack of lobster on the menu. Get over it. We did not have the chance to dine at OCEAN BLUE, but heard raves about presentation and service. Entertainment: Rock of Ages - I would not see this on Broadway as it is not my taste, but we did enjoy seeing the show on the ship. Cirque - great show. Bliss - DJ was good. He played a variaty of music and did not play the same tunes night after night. NCL finally retired the White Hot Party. It was time. The replacement GLOW party was fun and lent to interaction of guest. A great time. (we always felt the White party with its winged staffers was about them, and nto about the guests. GLOW solved that. Peeves - hated - lauded: - B'away needs to get their speaker system worked out and fast. The music is TOO loud on the decks, whether it be the band, played digital music or announcements. Julie's voice will haunt me for ever as she was BLASTED whenever she came on. Canned music in the Manhattan room was way too loud, and was eventually turned off. Deal or no Deal - blasted. - Julie was a great cruise director, but some of her staffers thought or acted as they owned the place sucking the steam from the passengers. - Does NCL have stock in Michael Jackson Thriller? Get rid of it. The 80's party was fun until MJ came on. There are thousands of hits to pick from, why him? - Martini tasting (and others) could be held in a restauant space allowing for the group to actually hear the drink description. - Glasses in bars, lounges, and restaurants were often spotted (or worse - finger or lip stick). Drinks were often sent back to be remade in clean glass. Twice I asked restaurant servers to replace stemware which they properly did removing the old, AFTER placeing the clean down. Kudos: to Cagneys staff. My menu accidentally knocked my glass of Merlot over and onto my companion's white shirt. Without notice, Cagney's informed us they would clean the shirt at no cost. An embarrassed for sure, this was our problem not their's which they did not need to handle. The shirt came back the next day spotless. We enjoyed out time on B'away. We met amazing people. Loved the staff. We return. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Embarkation: Southwest train from Waterloo station in London to Southampton Central train station for 38 pounds, anytime train. 90 minute ride. Brief taxi ride to pier. Was on ship in less than an hour. Beautiful brand new ship. Given ... Read More
Embarkation: Southwest train from Waterloo station in London to Southampton Central train station for 38 pounds, anytime train. 90 minute ride. Brief taxi ride to pier. Was on ship in less than an hour. Beautiful brand new ship. Given the size, there are only 2 sets of elevators- midship and Aft. Was in cabin 10102 forward with view off helipad. Great storage space, room seems larger than online floor plan, bathroom is largest I have experienced. Shower has glass door and is put back with toilet (EPIC). The cabin attendant was barely seen and made the beds and changed the towels. Extremely long walk just to get to cabin. Hallways are very narrow, except at mid-ship, where the hallway bends. Elevators move fast and are plenty in each set. Aft ship elevators take you right into the Garden Cafe. There are several sinks to wash your hands for those who dislike "washy washy." The cafe area is large and has 7 sections, except for 2 dessert stations, 2 ice cream stations, 4 drink stations, and 2 wine self-serve centers (taste, 1/2 and full glass of wine options) Great food selection and again, no trays to be used. The door to the Studio cabins was left opened several times. I ventured into the area and found the studio cabin extremely small. The lounge, looks much bigger online than in person. The second floor lounge area is opened to the first floor and has a limited sitting area with a stair case to the first floor of the lounge. Those in the lounge area seemed to be retirees with a few young people. See NCL for the listing of all the specialty restaurants. There are a few "a la carte" eateries that include Shanghai, Wasabi Sushi, Raw Bar, Carlos Bake Shop and Dolce Gelato. The specialty restaurants all have outside eating areas attached to their main area. Of course being on the Atlantic Ocean, it was too cold for anyone to eat dinner outside. Make sure you book those reservations beforehand, as there is very limited seating outside and on a great warm Caribbean evening those places will be booked first! Complimentary Restaurants include room service except, $5 for pizza 24/7, Manhattan Room is at AFT of ship. There are smaller dining rooms attached to main dining room which is much quieter than the opened dining room floor, Up Town Grill is outside, Savor and Taste, and O'Sheehan's Irish Pub (24/7). The staff was very friendly and excited about being on the new ship. Just about every public venue (restaurants, bars, shopping, casino, shore excursions etc) is either on decks 6, 7, 8 center to AFT of ship. Brand new touch scenes are located at every stair landing, elevators and 6-7-8. Touch screens allow you to make reservations for any restaurant or entertainment venues. Complimentary entertainment require you to make a reservation. Reservations can be made also through your flat screen TV, box office, or Guest Services. Doors open times are posted, get their early as the lines form prior to the doors opening. Daily menus are not yet posted anywhere on those screens or cabin's TV, still have to go to restaurant to look at any menu or the Restaurant Reservation Desk at Guest Services. Menus for specialty restaurants are found also at that restaurant of at Guest Services. First night went to Cagney's Steak House, perfect as usual. Manhattan Restaurant is quite loud with people talking over the live dance band. Fortunately was seated in the back left part of the restaurant, almost a separate dining area from the main area, very quiet area, you still can hear the live music. Casino area is located on Deck 7 with the atrium opening in the middle of the casino. Splitting the casino into 2 sections, because smoking is permitted in the casino, smoke goes everywhere including the center atrium. And on Deck 7 with the casino, one has to walk through the casino if you want to stay on that deck. The slot tournament pays $500 to the winner, however the Black Jack Tournament pays the winner on a sliding scale. Touring the ship at port, went up to scope out the SPA's new Hydrotherapy Courtyard. Week's pass $146 and Daily pass $39. Was told there were only 120 passes (week and daily) Considering this was a transatlantic, my intent was to relax and enjoy all the aspects of this new area, including the new Salt room. I paid the $146. Went to enjoy the area once the ship left port. The hot tub was empty and the heated benches were lukewarm, at best. First day of crossing, went up to use the facility at 10am, opens at 8am. Hot tub still not working and empty, no heated benches to use, no space in salt room to sit and hydrotherapy pool was iced cold, the first night the HP was warm. People were quite upset. When questioning the spa staff about all of the problems, they acted as if that level of problems was acceptable. I spoke with the assistant manager and got a full refund and was very disappointed in the problems with the space. She said, 'we are working on it.' Then don't charge anyone since the services of the area were not fully operational. (NCL would have made many friends!) In the men's locker room, gone are the steam room, sauna, and on some ships a single-sex hot tub. All of those facilities are found only within the Hydrotherapy Courtyard. Decided to venture back to HC to see if I could get in without paying and what was working or not. There is no one guarding that area, just walk pass the reception area to your left, and down the hall to the locker rooms. The hot tub was never fixed and still empty. The hydrotherapy pool's temperature was nice and warm. The steam and sauna rooms perfect. The salt room is room temp. Having paid for the HC, a simple white sticker was affixed to the backside of your key card. Not to offer the use of a steam room and sauna Hot tubs throughout the ship are either not working, or the temperature is too cold to enjoy. The shops: large areas of expensive shopping (duty-free), NCL logo merchandise is mainly on counters and built-in shelves of the walkways. I purchased a combo of hat and shirt for $49. (paper thin tee-shirt) As the week progressed, different sales took place of merchandise that is not displayed. Photography is now organized into an assigned portfolio, your folio number is found on your keycard. Cirque Dreams and Dysfunction Family Reunion priced shows include a fixed menu. Depending on the roughness of seas, Cirque Dreams could be cancelled. 2nd City cast did a great job. Michael Finney the Comedic Magician is barely entertaining and he himself spoke of the bored audience, more than once....HINT? Carlo's Bake Shop actually has 2 locations on the ship, the location on Deck 8 is limited opening times (12noon-5). The other location is part of the Atrium Cafe on Deck 6. (opens at 7am) Breakaway Theater: Gone are the multiple balconies and side boxes. Theater seats 875 and there are 3 sections and only 2 aisles. Any one entering the theater has to climb over 2/3 of the people to sit down in a seat. Steps into the theater are inconsistent with varying degrees of depts. A railing is needed down the 2 aisles. Seats are very uncomfortable with a slant downwards with no back support, however, they are wider than a typical theater seat. BURN THE FLOOR and ROCK OF AGES were well produced with the musical problem of mostly recorded music. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We were really excited to be taking the inaugural voyage of the Norwegian Breakaway from Southampton to New York this April but excitement led to let down as we boarded the ship and then throughout the voyage. 1st - the ship was clearly ... Read More
We were really excited to be taking the inaugural voyage of the Norwegian Breakaway from Southampton to New York this April but excitement led to let down as we boarded the ship and then throughout the voyage. 1st - the ship was clearly not ready for us. There was no program of the day's activities in the stateroom and the customer service desk said they had run out and no more would be printed. As a platinum Latitudes member I was entitled to a number of amenities but none were present in my cabin. After a complaint the amenities appeared the following evening. Another initial problem was an absence of the shipboard credit my travel agent had confirmed for us. It took 3 more days to get the credit that was confirmed in our reservations. As for the ship it was rather bland and boring. The food was the same. The pay restaurant Moderno was excellent however, as was the Blues club -we attended it every night and it turned out the be the highlight of our cruise. We highly recommend the band Slam Allen. The Cirque show was good as well, but Rock of Ages was horrible. We walked out after a tedious hour of amateurish singing and dancing. The pool area was totally inadequate. Set in the middle of the ship adjacent to a stage - speakers blasted either canned rock music or music from a live band. The sound was deafening and a total deterrent to using the pool. The children's pool and the water slide pool across the deck were unusable also as this was the area people landed from the huge water slide above. For a transatlantic cruise the pool was not really missed but it certainly would be on a Caribbean cruise. Another issue with this ship was a lack of quiet reading areas inside. There were almost no public lounges as pay restaurants had replaced these usual lounge areas. People congregated in the atrium mostly but it was extremely noisy. As for the cabins, we had both a balcony and an inside cabin and both were excellent. Top marks for good design and ergonomics. In conclusion I have to say we will not be cruising in this class of NCL ship again. Overall, it did not work for us. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Norwegian Breakaway This is a review of the Norwegian Breakaway's inaugural transatlantic cruise, April 30 - May 7, 2013. This review is written by someone who has cruised about 30 times mostly on RCCL, NCL, and Princess. The ... Read More
Norwegian Breakaway This is a review of the Norwegian Breakaway's inaugural transatlantic cruise, April 30 - May 7, 2013. This review is written by someone who has cruised about 30 times mostly on RCCL, NCL, and Princess. The Breakaway is a brand new ship and this cruise marked its first week-long sailing with passengers. We expected many minor inconveniences, yet were pleasantly surprised at the polish of the entire ship and crew. There were several very minor issues, most of which will be cleared up easily. Otherwise, things went incredibly smoothly and nearly everything worked properly. The ship is huge, carrying over 4000 passengers. We were told, on this cruise however, that there were somewhere less than 3000. I expect that that helped things run more smoothly, but I have no doubt that the ship can handle that number of passengers without major delays or passenger dissatisfaction. The entire ship runs "Freestyle" with no assigned dining tables or schedules (except for the dinner show with Cirque Dreams). Suits and evening gowns were not required and formal tuxedos and such were virtually non-existent. We tended to eat early, but never had any problem getting into any restaurant. Typically we always observed open tables. Reservations can be made for all of the specialty restaurants and the major shows, using either your stateroom TV, the iConcierge app on a smart-phone, by telephone or in person, or using one of many touch-screen TVs located on every floor by the staircases and elevators. This was not difficult and the crew appeared to be trained and helpful. Usually we book an inside cabin, but we were upgraded to a balcony cabin on Deck 11 midship. The cabin was typically small, but very serviceable and practical. When you enter the room, you must insert your key-card (or anything else of a similar shape and material) into a slot by the door in order to activate electricity to room. There was no lights, TV, or power to the outlets (only two by the desk) unless this was done. Not a big deal, but I learned that mobile devices are not being charged when you leave your room unless something is in this slot. One real nice feature of the bathroom is a glass-enclosed shower. What a major improvement from the plastic curtain in most cruise ship cabins! No water spilled onto the floor during any shower. The other huge advantage to the glass enclosure was that fogging of the mirror was nearly non-existent, which has always been a pet-peeve of mine. Water pressure seemed somewhat low (I'm sure a water saving feature), and the shower head did not offer any options for any different spray patterns. Water glasses sat in mounts on the wall along with a liquid soap dispenser. The bed mattress was much thicker and better than on average cruise ships, about 10 inches thick....a major plus, and probably not appreciated by passengers that haven't had a problem with other ship's mattresses. The closet was not very deep, causing shirts to get pinched by the sliding door unless they were pushed inside first. One minor annoyance here, which I'm sure will get resolved quickly, is that the hotel-style hangers slipped through the hooks that are used to hang them from the bar. We had five, where the ball at the end of the hanger would simply not hold in the slot. My suit fell to the floor several times. One other thing I missed was a desk drawer, where typically I store paperwork, pens and chargers. Again, not a big deal. Another minor inconvenience is the complete lack of clocks throughout the ship. I learned you can touch any of the touch-screen TVs to show the time, look at the monitor in an elevator, or find the time on the display of any phone around the ship. The only clocks that I found were on either side of the bar in the center of the pool deck, but these were not visible from the hot tubs or pools. I really missed having clocks around the ship. I don't know if this was an oversight or intentional (perhaps to help passengers relax without time pressures, or perhaps to increase watch sales in the gift shop). You may want to plan to wear a watch on the Norwegian Breakaway. One point that I consider almost bordering on dangerous is that on several decks (6, 7 and 8) there is a blue strip of carpeting on the floor just below the staircase. Since the staircase is also carpeted in the same blue, it deceptively looks like another step. Both of us stumbled on this strip at separate times. With low-vision passengers, or others simply not paying attention, it seemed like a hazard that would be easily fixed by replacing the blue strip of carpeting with a different color. The ship was well appointed with rich woods and carpeting. A very nice feature was the incorporation in the design of small fish swimming in the carpeting along all the cabins. When you're in the middle of very long hallways without windows, this was an easy way to determine the direction of the bow and stern. I wish they would incorporate a design element in all the carpeting pointing towards the bow of the ship. It also helped in that there were only two main staircases (with a third glass staircase in the atrium). There was a very modern, muli-colored chandelier in the atrium The cabin we had on Deck 11 mid-ship was extremely quiet. In fact we noticed how it was nearly impossible to hear ship engine noise and vibration. With the doors closed, it was silent. Even the state-room door seemed to almost seal, like a refrigerator, completely eliminating sound from the hallway or ocean noise from the balcony sliding door. However, we did speak with another passenger, who tended to go to bed early, who was unhappy with his cabin because of the noise. That cabin was located directly above Fat Cats jazz club and the bass was annoying when he tried to sleep. We heard a similar complaint from a passenger underneath the Pool deck who heard party noises from above. One other noise comment was in the Taste restaurant, two different songs were heard simultaneously, the piano player outside, and recorded music piped into the room. Ideally, they would simply amplify the piano and feed it throughout the speakers in the Taste and Savor restaurants so that two songs wouldn't clash. Otherwise, overall, the sound systems in the various venues were extremely well done. Even the outdoor Spice H2O had great sound with quality speakers incorporated into the metal framework around the large LED screen. Most entertainment and dining venues were located on Decks 6, 7 or 8. Overall the ship was very well designed. I felt there was one problem, but I expect it was purposeful. The Casino was centrally located on Deck 7 around the atrium making it impossible to avoid. Since this was a smoking area, there was an odor when passing through that was still noticeable in surrounding areas. I'm sure others would disagree with me, but in my opinion the casino could be located in a more out of-the-way area. People that want to gamble would find the casino. Maybe we missed it, but I'm not aware of any movies played on large screens for public viewing. There are two large LED panel screens, one at the base of the atrium on Deck 6, and another in the Spice H2O outdoor venue. The atrium had generic images of exotic locations, as a power-point screen for demonstrations, or for Wii U gameplay. Each cabin had an advanced television. The Cruise Directors staff did not create a morning show reviewing daily activities. Perhaps this will be added once they get to their normal itinerary and routines. Channel 13 was used to replay public events. So far, I thought that this was poorly utilized, but perhaps I simply missed the playback time. More likely, the video crew was working hard to create emergency instructional and port videos for their next itinerary, so they are probably not up to speed at the public events. I understand that the large production shows are copyrighted and only shown live. But there were other things such as the Captain's description of the construction and the technical details of the ship, and later an open forum talk by the CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines that I would really liked to have attended. Unfortunately there were other events scheduled at the same time so we could not attend the live presentation. I would have expected more viewing choices. Especially things that could entertain for a short period of time while changing clothes and such. The broadcast channels offered were somewhat intermittent, dropping to black frequently and having somewhat garbled audio glitches periodically. Hopefully this will improve. I did appreciate the inclusion of both Fox News and MSNBC. Channels: 9 - Guide (silent text) 10 - Safety Information 13 - Activities and Information - (recorded public events) 14- Onboard offering - (advertising of spa offerings) 15 - Shore Excursion - (no ports, so generic NCL port excursion videos) 16 - Port Shopping - (advertising for on-board shops) 17 Nickelodeon 21 - Navigation Information - Typical automated Navigation and weather information) 22 - Bow Camera -(not available) 23 - BBC World News 24 CNBC 25 MSNBC 26 - Fox News 27 ESPN 28 - Engage Network 29 - Favorite Shows - 30-minute comedies and 1-hour dramas 30 - Favorite Movies - full length movies Internet wi-fi service was available everywhere on the ship. It was typically expensive and slow. My only complaint here was that you had to sign out to avoid running up too many minutes, but the sign off procedure seemed to take forever. There were several times I would enter "ogout.com and would eventually get a response that I was not logged in. But a faster, more positive end of session response would be appreciated. There are a number of cost-savings measures instituted on the Breakaway. For the most part I support the efforts, with the understanding that it will keep the cruise fares lower. In the bathroom, small packets or bottles of shampoo have been replaced by liquid dispensers. This was fine, but travelers that want hair conditioner or hand lotion will need to bring their own. Most of the restaurants onboard use nice formica tables with woven plastic placemats instead of white tablecloths. Much of the art work at stair landings on most cruise ships is replaced on the Breakaway with printed wall murals or large mirrors. The Breakaway is designed for warm-weather sailings. There is no indoor pool and many activities are designed for out- of- doors. Most of the specialty restaurants have outdoor seating available. It was too cold in the North Atlantic in early May for any of these facilities to see much use, but the ship is destined for summer trips to Bermuda and winter trips to the Caribbean. There were numerous outdoor activities including a large basketball court and rock climbing wall. There was an extensive ropes course including a metal beam that extended over the side of the ship by eight feet. Unfortunately, the time that I tried was just before closing for lunch and I didn't get to experience the entire course. There were five water tubes, two that spiral tightly, one that open curves, and two more that have the rider stand nearly vertically into an enclosure where the floor drops away. The entire ride is about 6 seconds and is quite thrilling. There are two pools and a splash pool for the kids. There were also a number of hot tubs, including two up on the Spice H20 adult-only area. This area was somewhat difficult to find and was located at the stern on Deck 16. There was also a very small jogging track on Deck 16. This was expected to replace the typical Promenade Deck walk that completely circles the ship. There was a very nice mini-golf course. My only complaint here was that the outdoor carpeting was not glued down and there were several wrinkles. I understand that there were 19 cruise staff members dedicated to the kids programs. This appeared to outnumber the number of children on board for our transatlantic. It looks like kids activities are well supported, but traveling without children, we had nothing to comment on here. The 6 remaining Cruise Director's staff ran typical activities. They appeared to be somewhat less omni-present from other ships, but performed their duties adequately. I personally found the Cruise Director Julie far less social compared to all the other Cruise Directors that I have seen. In general, it appears that Norwegian pulled in the best from all of their ships to form the crew of the new Breakaway. Julie appears to be an exception. However, I understand that the Cruise Director is responsible for hiring and scheduling all the other entertainment on board. I suspect that perhaps Julie is an extraordinary manager and organizer, and her talents in that area were more important than her social abilities. However, I did have an issue with the way some things were scheduled. It seemed that most activities that would attract people that had an interest in learning and expanding their knowledge were scheduled at either 10:00 am or 2:00 pm. This included activities such as Tivia, Name That Tune, What's My Line, and talks by the Captain and CEO of NCL. Possibly this was intentional to keep attendance at each activity under control. There are few venues on the ship that can hold a large number of passengers. The main theater can hold approximately 750 and appeared to be the largest. The various clubs such as Headliners, Bliss and Fat Cats probably average around 200. Julie also ran the Progressive Trivia activity held daily at 10:15am. Apparently she does not understand the concept of Progressive. She made no attempt to keep track of a team's daily scores or to compile a total. Progressive Trivia simply ended on the last day with the final winner being given the trophy that had been passed from winning team to winning team. Julie also appeared to have no interest whatsoever in trivia. This was unfortunate as the transatlantic cruise attracted a large contingent of trivia buffs. The trivia buffs who were serious about their trivia were somewhat annoyed at her lack of interest. Ass't cruise director Simon and cruise staff members Gustav and Meaghan, on the other hand, were terrific. Gustav showed up momentarily instead of Julie for morning Trivia and the passengers applauded. He had to explain that he was just delivering paper and that Julie would be there shortly, to the disappointment of the players. There was a library and a card room, typical of cruise ships. On display were a number of costumes from the Rockettes, the Godmothers of the Norwegian Breakaway. There was also a game room with an air-hockey table, a pool table, and two small bowling lanes. All three were for a small additional charge. I never saw the bowling lanes used, but it was an interesting concept. The shows on the Breakaway were not typical for cruise ships. Gone were the typical Broadway and Movie singing and dance review shows. The main theater featured two shows, the musical Rock of Ages, and Burn The Floor. Both were very well done and very impressive for a cruise ship. While being well done, I didn't particularly care for the Rock of Ages story, being kind of a modern version of 42nd Street (which is also one of my least favorites). The music was popular hair-band rock music from the 80s, which may attract those who were young at that time and their teenage kids. It may not appeal to their parents or grandparents. Burn the Floor was an extremely high energy ball-room dancing show with two live singers, piano, bass and drums playing along with a recorded track. We saw the second performance and were amazed at how much effort the dancers put forth. They were phenomenal and deserved the standing ovation the audience immediately gave. The other main entertainment was Cirque Dreams and Dinner Jungle Fantasy. This show was held in the Spiegel Tent on Deck 6. Again, this show was different from most cruise ship shows and featured a number of "Cirque du Solei" type acts. The Spiegel Tent obviously was not a tent, but the room had a half-round shape and was raised high in the middle over the stage like a circus tent. My favorite act was the two quick change artists that amazingly changed costumes multiple times in seconds. Surf and turf dinner was provided here and an extra charge of $39.00 was applied for premium seats. The food was average. I heard a complaint from one person who liked their steak well done, but all were served at medium rare. There was a choice of premium or standard seating. The standard seating appeared to be more comfortable half-round booths surrounding the outer edge of the theater. The premium seating were 4 two-person tables shoved together, seating 10 people. This seemed overly crowded and forced some people to be eating over the crack between tables. The theater was not full, so it would have been possible to spread out people more comfortably. It is also important to note that there were three rings of seating. An inner ring of tables perpendicular to the stage, and an outer ring of tables parallel to the stage comprised premium seating. Then along the outside wall was the standard seating booths, raised up slightly. It seemed to me that this extra height gave the people in the standard seating booths a better view of the stage than the people in the outer ring of premium seats. Guests were seated into the best seats available as they arrived, so it is important to get to the show early, at least 30 minutes, especially if seated in the premium section. It's also important to note that a number of the acts are flown into the top area above the stage. Due to the lower ceiling over the outer ring of premium seats and the standard seating booths, some of the acts might be blocked. Three other noteworthy acts were Slam Allen, a blue guitarist featured in Fat Cats jazz and blues club. He was absolutely phenomenal and not to be missed. I don't know how long he will be aboard, but be sure to stop in and hear him play. The other act that we loved was Howl at the Moon. This was billed as Dueling Pianos, but in reality was three very talented performers that rotated among two pianos and a drum set. They would play continuously for four hours with one at a time taking occasional breaks. This was audience participation music, playing nearly all requests, (typically either rock or country), and was very engaging. We went multiple nights and thoroughly enjoyed their performance. The other major entertainment was seven members of the Second City comedy club. They performed a number of times throughout the cruise and every show was different. It was mostly improvisation, but there were a few skits scattered about. They were very funny, but their performance varied depending on the suggestions from the audience. The late evening performances were suggested for adults only and ventured into more risque subjects. The main shows in the theater required reservations be made in advance. At ten minutes before the start of the show, any open seats could be filled by passengers without reservations. Nearly all the events required the passenger to have their cruise-card scanned. This procedure seemed overly long and took several seconds for each person. This seemed to cause a lot of delay getting into shows. Typical modern theaters have a small hand-held scanner that simply beeps a positive response when each ticket is scanned. The NCL system seemed to require the operator to examine the response from each scan and hit a key or two. This seemed overly complicated and slow. Perhaps there should be more than one computer were available at each entrance. Also, once audience members entered the theater they were free to pick any seat. Typically people would sit in pairs or small groups, leaving a blank seat between them. Since the shows ran quite full, this caused a lot of people arriving later to try to find seats together. I am mixed about signing up reservations for shows weeks prior to departure. In most cruises with ports of call, it would be difficult to plan well in advance which performances would fit into their schedule. On the transatlantic with seven straight days at sea, it really didn't matter and worked fine for us. Site lines in the main theater were very good with the person's head in the seat in front low enough to not be objectionable. Site lines in Headliners were far worse with chairs all on the same level facing the stage. One nice feature here was the use of small wooden blocks between each pair of chairs to set drinks upon. This made a much better layout of the audience than the typical round tables with four chairs, as was used in Fat Cats. I am not a gourmet and do not feel qualified to judge the food, but I would in general say that it struck me it was on-par with most of my cruise ship experience. The food in the Garden Cafe buffet varied somewhat depending on how long ago it had been put out. It appeared that some of the food was cooked immediately behind the display area, and some things such as crepes and omelets were cooked to order. The Garden Cafe was a giant rectangle with each type of food stations being repeated about four times. These stations were things such as beverages, desserts, salads, or grill and such. One very positive thing for me is that there was a station providing free water, tea and juices. However, only small glasses were available necessitating multiple trips back for refills. But it was sure nice not to have to pay for everything. Forks, knives, napkins, ketchup, mustard and condiments were available at each table so there was no need to carry them through the food lines - a nice feature since there were no trays available, only plates. There was another smaller buffet immediately above the Garden Cafe that served breakfast sandwiches and hamburgers and such. One great feature was small sinks to wash your hands at the entrance to the cafe in additional to the availability of hand sanitizers at all restaurants. Overall the main restaurants were well run and served decent food. We spoke with one head-waiter that had been on board for about a month preparing the ship and practicing. Each restaurant was "stress tested" where workers and other ship personnel were sent to fill a restaurant to ensure that the wait staff and kitchen workers could practice providing service under busy conditions. This practice showed, and we did not experience any problems. We especially enjoyed our experience at Cagney's steakhouse and Teppanyaki. We did not try Ocean Blue, but from the reaction of other passengers, it was overpriced for small portions with less than spectacular flavor. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend the Norwegian Breakaway. Norwegian has really upped their game from our previous NCL experiences and is trying very hard to provide a quality vacation experience while still carefully controlling expenses. The ship is aimed squarely at the New York middle class family market and I expect will succeed. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
I thought I'd share a mini-review of our experience on the Norwegian Breakaway's inaugural transatlantic cruise from Southampton to New York. It was fun to be among the first passengers on a clean new ship, but unfortunately NCL ... Read More
I thought I'd share a mini-review of our experience on the Norwegian Breakaway's inaugural transatlantic cruise from Southampton to New York. It was fun to be among the first passengers on a clean new ship, but unfortunately NCL did not make the inaugural cruise special in any way. I'll offer general impressions, then address cabins/deck plans, dining, nightlife, entertainment, and activities. General impressions: Pros: Nice ship, well designed (with some exceptions) and executed. Nice variety of dining and activities. We did enjoy ourselves, despite some of the criticisms I offer here, and I would give the ship and the cruise a grade B-. Cons: We anticipated NCL doing something special for its inaugural voyage, or for Latitudes members, but there was no captain's cocktail party, no special invitations, no inaugural commemorative gifts (other than a cheap cloth tote bag that came apart). Being part of something special with the launch of a new ship was the principal reason we paid much more than usual for the cruise fare and the flight to the UK. Generally, service throughout was apathetic, a bit surprising considering that crew members for a new flagship must have been selected from among NCL's finest, right? Deck Plans & Public Areas: Pros: The ship was easy to navigate, with most of the public venues on three central floors ("678 Ocean Place"). The ship's public areas were beautiful and tastefully decorated (less like Carnival/RCL/NCL and more like Celebrity/Princess/HAL). Furnishings were appropriate for each venue, and varied around the ship. Very helpful touchscreens in public areas allow passengers to find information and book dinner and show reservations. The Waterfront is a great addition (and one of the reasons we were attracted to this ship), and will undoubtedly get plenty of use in warmer climates than the north Atlantic. On our trip, it was a little too nippy to spend time out there most days. Cons: Unlike many other ships, Breakaway does not have a "Crow's Nest"-type lounge with views. There was a dearth of lounge areas where people could just sit and talk or read a book. Many people gathered in specialty dining rooms and restaurants/bars just to hang out and read, which made it too crowded when you just wanted to sit and enjoy a drink or a coffee. The atrium area was a nice touch, but alternated between the extremes of loud ship presentations that would ordinarily be held in the theater on other ships, and passengers (at least on this quiet transatlantic) using it as a nap room for hours (during which there was a running loop of NYC and Bermuda tourism videos on the two-story screen). The ship still needs some tweaks to get ready for mostly U.S.-based passengers. For example, the electronic screens in the elevator showed the manufacturer's name, a stock picture of Breakaway, and showed the date as day/month/year, which is likely to confuse some American passengers. Cabins: Pros: We had a mini-suite, which like other cabins was well-appointed and tastefully designed. It does not have the curtain that we have enjoyed in mini-suites on the Jewel-class chips. Our bathroom included an upgraded shower with sliding door (no tub) and a double sink (albeit one that was very shallow front to back). Cabins include a mini-bar fridge and small coffeemaker (! - I think that's only in mini-suites and above). Cons: Even the mini-suite was a bit cramped, and there wasn't enough room to unpack clothes and store suitcases, so we used the sofa as a luggage rack all week and weren't able to enjoy the sofa. Were it not for booking a large balcony, we would have felt claustrophobic. Even though we weren't really able to take full advantage of a large balcony in the north Atlantic, it was a great place to escape the cramped room. As you've read elsewhere, most balconies are small don't even have room for you to stretch out your legs. Dining: Pros: Manhattan Room supper-club atmosphere was nice and more formal than other casual dining venues. The accompaniment of a jazz combo established the mood. But the layout and atmosphere in Taste and Savor, the casual dining rooms, was very nice at lunch and dinner. They seemed to make a better effort at service and presentation. Love NCL's freestyle anytime dining concept, which is still working well and which other lines are also adopting. Cons: Food was just okay, and nothing to write home about. Coffee was from concentrate and not brewed from beans. There was decent Lavazza coffee available at the bake shop for a cost, but that was only espresso drinks, not brewed coffee. Its hours were curiously limited. Manhattan dining room was too cramped, and rushed and inattentive waiters were bumping chairs and tables in traffic. Buffet was a disappointment (taste of food, lack of variety). I'm guessing NCL is trying to drive people to the specialty extra-charge restaurants, which provided a nicer experience and food. Nightlife: Pros: The usual variety of bars, including the usual suspects (martini bar, whiskey bar) plus a pub, blues club and the Headliners club for comedy and dueling pianos. Several nights included parties at the Spice H2O club on the aft deck - these will be big hits in warm weather. One night the ship shot fireworks - very cool. Disco and DJ got good marks. Casino was larger and more spacious than some at sea. Cons: The Ice Bar ($20 cover) would be a cool (get it?) addition, but didn't really get any traffic on this sailing. Maybe in warmer climes. Casino was located right in the center of other public areas surrounding the atrium, so smoke wafted to other areas. Casino devoted two full tables to poker, but because the ship's rake was so high (up to $25 per hand), passengers did not play a single cash game week. Entertainment: Pros: Generally excellent, and an ample variety of choices. The theater is smaller than most, but well designed to allow passengers to see a show on the night and time of their choosing (book in advance). Run, don't walk, to see Burn the Floor, one of the better shows we've seen on ships in the last 15 years. The dancers were enormously talented (this rotation will be on for at least 6 months). The dancers also performed mini-shows in the Manhattan supper club on nights when they weren't doing full shows in the theater. Rock of Ages was also an ambitious undertaking at sea, and generally well-executed even though it's a hokey show. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but much better than most musical revues you'll see on ships. The Cirque show also included great performers, but the mediocre banquet dinner makes the experience a little disappointing. Among the other entertainers, highlights were the jazz combo in the Manhattan supper club, Annika Odegard on piano and vocals in Shakers martini bar, the ubiquitous and under-appreciated pool-deck band. Cons: Fire and Ice are a keyboardist and singer who were talented yet poorly placed in the Atrium at night with an apathetic crowd (as I mentioned earlier, many passengers treated this area as their nap room, and I saw this talented duo performing in front of people who were reading books or sleeping). Get them another venue! I don't know if he'll be performing regularly, but comedy magician Michael Finney was a huge disappointment - tired jokes and a little magic we've seen repeatedly for the last 30 years. People were walking out throughout the show. And sorry folks, but the very popular Slam Allen blues band was just average. We are blues lovers, but had to walk out after a couple of off-key numbers. it's great that NCL added the blues club on these ships, and it was very popular, but I guess we are jaded since we live in Chicago and see much better acts on a regular basis. Activities: Pros: The sports deck is spectacular, including an almost full-size sports court, water slides, a climbing wall, mini-golf, and a ropes course with a zipline and the soon-to-be-famous Plank. Get over your fears and try it. There were ample deck lounge chairs and lots of deck space if you don't mind being lined up in rows of sun-worshippers (not much elbow room). The water slides were a bit overhyped, but were great fun and I'm sure will keep kids entertained for hours. There was also a nice kiddie pool area with Nickolodeon characters like Sponge Bob & friends. Spice H2O is a great day club area. It was also good for them include a library (VERY limited selection and limited hours for checkout and return) and card room, albeit very small ones. Card games were on the schedule in other parts of the ship, like restaurants. Cons: The pools were small and not very well positioned. The pool deck is mainly for sunning. The extra-charge Vibe beach club is nice, but way too crowded with chairs, and seems less like an exclusive lounging area and more like a way to squeeze as many paying customers into the space as possible. The fitness center was smaller than the gym on some smaller ships, but enough space for treadmills, ellipticals, circuit and free weights. Could get very crowded when the ship is full. We really wanted to enjoy the spa/wet area, but they sold out of weekly passes on sailing day (no daily passes available, very poor planning). Overall, despite the above criticisms and suggestions for improvement, we enjoyed the cruise. All things considered, I'm not sure the ship compares favorably with other choices, but we like freestyle cruising, the upgraded entertainment, and the Waterfront enough to give this ship (or the Getaway) another try in warmer conditions. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
I sailed with Norwegian Cruise lines for the first and last time. I was on the Breakaway transatlantic cruise from UK to NYC arriving yesterday. First off this was advertised as pulling into NYC at 8 AM. One of the reasons we took this ... Read More
I sailed with Norwegian Cruise lines for the first and last time. I was on the Breakaway transatlantic cruise from UK to NYC arriving yesterday. First off this was advertised as pulling into NYC at 8 AM. One of the reasons we took this cruise was for the experience of sailing into NY harbor in daylight to experience this sight and take once in a lifetime photos. Instead this ship slinked into the harbor in the dead of night way ahead of schedule. No first experience, sighting or photos. we wasted out money. We spent extra money for a balcony cabin which was a joke. It was more like a ledge and impossible to sit on without me knees touching the glass barrier. The cabin, which is brand new, had a used disposable razor in the shower and crumbs on top of the stool at the vanity. The air conditioning did not working and took 3 calls to get service. There are no draws for storage and the closet is less than half the size of those on other cruise lines. You cannot use your lights unless you put a room card in a slot at the cabin entrance. Inconvenient and very European and stupid. Cabin door opens outwards to the hall rather then inwards as shape of hall is not totally straight. The bed was so short my husbands feet hung over the bottom, he is 6' 1", not overly tall for an American male. We ran out of tissues, shower bath gel and hand soap and had to ask for it to be refilled rather than the cabin attendant being alert to this. The menu's in the 3 free restaurants remained relatively unchanged for the 7 days, maybe to encourage you to spend money in the overpriced pay for restaurants and the food at times was inedible due to the overly liberal use of salt. On one evening in The Manhattan Room I was served salmon that smelled and tasted "fishy" and the steaks are entirely flavorless lacking in any beefy flavor. The buffet had a nice variety and some tasty offerings but no trays to carry food to your table. While other cruise lines have servers, especially at breakfast, offering coffee, beverages, etc, NCL provides none of this. Although there are one or to roving around with a small tray so you can buy a drink. The theater is just that, not decorated or multi level, just a dank, drab movie like theater which is certainly not big enough to accommodate even half of the capacity of over 4000 on this mega ship. Entertainment is spread out to different venues, different nights etc and they want reservations which is a pain in the neck. There was nothing presented to talk about, but Fire and Ice generated excitement in the Atrium and their special performances. Rock of Ages was loud and really adult only. Have kids? Too bad. Want to curl up with a book or an iPod and watch the sea roll by. Not on this ship. All parts of this ship giving any kind of "view" is used for the bars or restaurants..small areas with seating is scattered through the ship. Want a view or a lounge on an open deck, not with NCL. All in all this ship is designed to generate revenue not for the comfort and convenience of the cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We arrived in the UK on the 24th of April and stayed with friends in Poole, near Bournemouth pre-cruise, and they drove us to the port on the day of departure, so I do not have any tips on hotels in the area of the port. Embarkation in ... Read More
We arrived in the UK on the 24th of April and stayed with friends in Poole, near Bournemouth pre-cruise, and they drove us to the port on the day of departure, so I do not have any tips on hotels in the area of the port. Embarkation in Southampton was smooth for us. We arrived at the terminal around 10:45a, and were allowed to proceed directly through security and into the check-in lobby. I was curious as if we were going to be allowed in early as our e-documents requested that you not arrive before 11:00, and that boarding would not commence until noon. Once inside, I was surprised at the number of people already checked in considering the directions about arrival time given in the documents, but there was plenty of seating in the holding area. Boarding commenced a little before noon, and shortly after the day visitors were invited to board. We were asked to not go to the cabins yet as they were not quiet ready, so we took the opportunity to look around the ship. Sometime just before 1p, I think, an announcement that the cabins were ready was made, and we proceeded to ours to drop the luggage off. We were in a Spa Balcony cabin, category B9 located in the forward section of deck 14 on the port side of the ship. We found the cabin set-up to be a huge improvement over the cabins on Epic, but it did seem tight. The balcony was very small....any smaller and it would be a "French balcony". The decor was very subtle and nice, but it was interesting that the only piece of art in the cabin was on the wall behind the sofa. Pretty standard desk with mirror and hair dryer below the desk surface. There were two small cabinets underneath the television for storing some of your stuff, and then a cabinet with the mini-bar refrigerator. The closet had shelves on one side - one with the safe, and hanging space on the other. The hangers were the kind where the ring was permanently attached to the bar and you lifted the hanger off the ring. Several of ours would not stay on the ring, so ended up laying either in the top or bottom of the closet for the entire trip. Hard to believe that they feel the need to go with this set-up, I guess I wasn't aware that hanger theft was a huge issue, so it basically said "we're cheap" to me. The bathroom was pretty standard NCL from Jewel class ships. Interestingly, the life vests are stored in a basket under the beds, but even with the basket, there was room for 3 suitcases, and we could have probably gotten an additional small bag or two under there. Speaking of luggage, ours arrived at our cabin very quickly. Dennis, our cabin steward, introduced himself day 1 and was very available. He did a great job keeping the cabin during the trip. Note that on Breakaway, the "Make Up Cabin" and "Do Not Disturb" indicators are electronic, and controlled by switches that are high on the wall by the door. Also note that the cabin electrical system is activated by putting the key, or some other card, in the slot by the door. This seemed to control ALL the cabin power including the power outlets, so if you need something to charge, do it overnight, or bring along a card key from a hotel and leave that in the slot while you are out. We had the opportunity to view a Spa Mini-suite, category M9 as it was still open for the day visitors. Interestingly enough, the cabin itself did not appear any larger than ours. The bathroom is definitely larger though, with double sinks. The mini-suite balcony was the same size as ours. From viewing this cabin, I am not sure that the cabin would be worth the higher cost. Over all the food was good to excellent. Service at times was a bit spotty, and slow. They have some crew members that are very on top of things, and others that are still learning the ropes, or so it seemed. We saw a couple of manager types have melt downs because of various issues, and found that it was off-putting to see such unprofessional behavior displayed in front of passengers. Interestingly enough, the wait-staff remained calm, cool, and unruffled. That being said, we ate breakfast several mornings in the Garden Cafe, several mornings in Savor/Taste, and one morning at the Uptown Grill. We had no problems with service in Savor/Taste when we dined there. Food was provided in a timely schedule, and we were offered coffee/water/and juice as we needed it. One observation that I noted on this trip, only on one occasion do I remember the server introducing him/herself, as well as an assistant waiter. I'm not sure if they are eliminating assistants, or what, but you could tell there needed to be some attention to this issue. Garden Cafe is set up in a pretty standard configuration and was quite large. Food was good and seemed to be rotated on a regular basis. The omelet/egg station line moved quickly. Seating seemed adequate on our cruise, but considering the ship was no where near capacity, I have to wonder what will happen when it is booked to capacity. We liked the area of the Uptown Grill, but the selections are limited to yogurts, fruit, and breakfast type sandwiches. Oddly this seemed the coldest place on the ship, even when other outdoor areas warmed up a little, this area stay COLD! It will be a nice outdoor area in warmer weather. For Lunch, we ate a couple of times in the Garden Cafe and found our favorite dishes were the Indian dishes that were offered. The salads seemed fresh on the buffet, and once again, food seemed to be rotated in a timely manner. A couple of days we chose to eat lunch in Savor/Taste, and overall the lunch menu was standard. One particularly cold day though they were clearly unprepared for the number of guests that showed up for lunch. The food was just ok that day, but the wait staff seemed to be working very hard in not the best circumstances. We ate lunch twice in O'Sheehan's, and found the food to be typical "fast food" but it was served hot, and the waitstaff was very good. Our favorite lunches were at Shanghai's Noodle Bar. The food is prepared fresh and the wait staff is very good. It is an ala carte charged menu, but very inexpensive and worth the money. That being said, the location of Shanghai's was not well thought out. It is right next to and completely open to the casino. The problem is that the open kitchen, with the large vents over the cooking area is on the far side of the restaurant, and therefore draws the cigarette smoke from the casino through the restaurant. This seems poorly thought out from a design standpoint, and people sensitive to smoke would find this an unpleasant place to dine. The first night for dinner we chose Ocean Blue. The food and service was very good. I particularly enjoyed the mussel appetizer. For the main course I had the Sea Bass and it was prepared very well. The second night we dined in Le Bistro, and were quite surprised as it was NOT the experience that it used to be. The restaurant was clearly understaffed for the number of tables they were attempting to serve. There seemed to be no assistant waiters anywhere to be found, so many of the little things that were associated with the presentation of the meal were missing. These little things were the things that made eating there special, and it was not the same with them missing. The waitstaff was working very very hard and even the maitre d's were helping with the service, but they were very rushed making the atmosphere somewhat tense. Thankfully, the food was still excellent. Hopefully this is just a scheduling glitch that will be worked out quickly. Night three we went to Teppanyaki and as always the food and presentation were excellent. I had the seafood entree which included lobster, calamari, and shrimp. It was a great choice. The steak some others had looked very good as well. Night four was Cirque Dreams & Dinner Jungle Fantasy, and it's all about the show. The food is a set menu, so it is brought out en mass and placed before you. The food is good, but not great, the show on the other hand is excellent! Night 5 was Cagney's. This was the best meal we had. Christina and Rodney were our servers and they did an excellent job. Steaks were cooked to perfection, and the sides were excellent. The lump crab salad appetizer was spectacular, as was the wedge salad. Desserts were very good. We enjoyed the macadamia nut ice cream and the creme brulee. We enjoyed our dinner so much here that we returned to Cagney's on the final night of the cruise and requested the same servers. The second time around was as good as the first. Night six we ate at La Cucina, The food was good to very good and the service was excellent. The insalata caprese was very nicely done, and the vegetable lasagna was good. Tiramisu dessert was very good. For the shows we did Rock of Ages one evening. The music is good, but story line is pathetic. I'm still not sure why this was such a hit on Broadway, and even the movie was given mixed reviews. Many people left the show early. All that said, the cast seemed to do a good job with the material they were given. Cirque Dreams is excellent and the performers really do some amazing things. Worth the money in my opinion! Burn the Floor was also excellent. A very talented group of people deliver an enjoyable experience. We did the late night Second City show one evening and found it enjoyable, and thought the team did a good job with the improv, and didn't get too raunchy. We had a great time dancing at the Glow party and thought the music was good. I have mixed feelings about Bliss though. The dance floor is huge, but the seating area is limited. Not near the amount of seating nor the lounge like feel of Bliss on the Norwegian Pearl. The 80's party was pretty good, but very cold as it was held at Spice outside. Fireworks were o.k. for a first time effort, but didn't compare to the fireworks show on the Disney Dream. For recreation, the ropes course is a really interesting and fun thing to do. As one who doesn't care for heights, I was able to enjoy the course, and I even walked the plank...although the first time around I didn't make it very far out. The second time I tried, I made it out to the end. Too bad the camera didn't work :(. The flash goes off but the pics are not recorded. The free fall water slide was a blast as well, but once again, the camera here was not working. That being said, the main pool area will be interesting when the ship is full and the weather is warm. The area seemed tight to me, and cluttered due to the "Market Place" being stuck between the two pools. The Spice H20 area seems more spacious than the one on Epic, but this is because there is no pool there, just open deck and a couple of hot tubs. I still thing the Giant Screen is poorly placed as it blocks the view off the back of the ship. I don't understand why it is not mounted on the wall on the opposite side of Spice. The spa was O.K., but like the one on Epic will be very crowded when the ship is full. The thermal suite was definitely not ready for this cruise. The water in the hydrotherapy pool was barely warm, and the hot tub did not work at all for the first several days of the cruise. The hydrotherapy pool seemed overly chlorinated at times, to the point that my skin felt very dry and irritated after spending time in it, and my eyes actually burned from the smell of the chlorine. One of the showers out side the Sauna was scalding hot, and it took several DAYS for the staff to post a sign on it that it was out of order. The salt room also did not seem to work at all the first day or so, and then only intermittently after that. It really seemed to be a wasted space to me. Some days the steam room was at full steam, other times not so much. The sauna did seem to consistently work. Passengers seemed to think that the heated loungers were theirs for the day, but several times, I did see staff removing all towels and robes from unoccupied ones to allow others to use them. I believe the charge for the week to use the thermal suite was $146, but it was included with the spa balcony fare, although others encountered confusion with the staff on this issue, by the time we asked we were automatically given the sticker, no questions asked. If they decide later that it is not included, there is certainly NO reason to pay more for a forward balcony cabin on deck 14! The fitness center was divided into two sections across the hall from one another. The cardio room was oceanview, and seemed to have an adequate number of machines to choose from. Plenty of treadmills and elliptical machines, although at certain times in the morning they all seemed to be in use. I had no problem getting a machine late morning or early afternoon though. Across the hall on the "inside" of the ship is the weight room which had a variety of machines and free weights available for use. The camera's on the plank and water slides not working were not the only problems with the photography system. Even though the photographers took many pictures, and scanned our key cards, the vast majority of the photos never showed up in our portfolio, nor on the electronic screens in the photo shop. The electronic screens also show the photos in a very poor layout, and even though the photos are shown on an NCL screen, they are covered with an NCL "watermark" for lack of a better work, that makes it very difficult to tell just how good or bad the pic is. Are they really that worried about somebody taking a picture of their picture on the computer screen? Another example of something that in my opinion says "We're cheap!" Maybe they need to send somebody from the photo department on the Disney Dream to see how the system should work! The Waterfront is a great concept, and I wish the weather on the crossing had been more agreeable to enjoying this part of the ship. I can imagine that it will be very popular in warmer weather, and tables will be difficult to get. Disembarkation went very smoothly and seemed to run ahead of schedule for most if not all of the morning. They are VERY strict about the number of people they allow in the terminal, and seemed to oly let around 30 at a time into the baggage claim area. This is not NCL policy, but the Port Authority or Customs/Immigration, but not sure which. Overall the ship is nicely decorated, and seems to be designed much better than Epic in my opinion. I will be interested, however, to hear reviews from cruisers when they are on the ship and it is at or near capacity. It seems to me that it could become very crowded very quickly, and I'm not sure there is enough staff to handle the crowd. We spent one night post cruise at the Marriott East Side. The hotel is very nice and the service there is excellent. It is in the building where Georgia O'Keffee and her husband resided in New York, so it is not your cookie cutter hotel. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We joined the cruise for the unique opportunity to sail an inaugural Transatlantic cruise into New York. Embarkation was speedy and well organised. We found our way to our lovely elegant deck 9 cabin, nicely furnished in beiges and ... Read More
We joined the cruise for the unique opportunity to sail an inaugural Transatlantic cruise into New York. Embarkation was speedy and well organised. We found our way to our lovely elegant deck 9 cabin, nicely furnished in beiges and with touches of deep turquoise, set off by curved rosewood cabinetry. The bed was blissfully comfortable, and the bathroom well planned with good shower and pelnty of shelf space. Our efficient, friendly cabin steward provided , on request, robes, down pillows and Elemis toiletries . On exploring this huge vessel, we discovered amazing water slides in the aqua park, a scary rope climb suspended over the comedy mini golf, and an incredible plank for brave passengers to dare! The two pools were placed under slides, not on a dedicated pool deck, so sun lovers have two superb higher deck sun bathing areas with plenty of loungers and circular beds tucked into quiet corners. Dining is a matter of many choices on this incredible ship, with 3 main dining rooms, each differently themed, and of the 3 we preferred the deco Manhattan, with lovely dance floor and small orchestra playing. We tried a few of the specialist restaurants where service was better, but the food rather ordinary. There plenty of casual eating choices in the large garden cafe, and a terrific pub, with limited, but excellent fare, a good choice of draught beers and a great atmosphere. A totally original concept on Breakaway, is the Boardwalk, with outside restaurants and bars overlooking the ocean. This innovation is going to be incredibly popular in the Caribbean, sure to be copied on other ships. There is even an upmarket gelateria, and delicious looking bakery. Evening entertainment was outstanding, with 2 fabulous Broadway shows on offer, high energy Rock of Ages, and the exciting dance show Burn the Floor. It was necessarry to make a reservation,as the showroom is not huge. In addition , there is a hugely popular Fat Cats jazz club, and an improv comedy show, playing to packed houses each night. A highly entertaining dueling piano act sang and played with gusto to an enthusiastic crowd, and quiet misic was offered in several bars. . We tried the amazing Ice Bar, with vodka cocktails served in ice "glasses" from an ice counter in a bar with ice seating, ice walls and ice sculptures. The customers don insulated capes and warm gloves before entering, and the barman works a 2 hour shift in this freezer like space. For those , like myself, who do not care for vodka, a delicious alternative of icewine is offered. The daytime entertainment was limited, really geared to sailing warm waters, where guests will be out in the sun, or exploring ashore. A tiny library had barely enough books to satisfy a fraction of the number of passengers onboard. Breakaway is going to be enormously popular, sailing itineraries from its home port of New York, with a wide variety of accommodation, from tiny single studios, multi-berth cabins for families, and luxury Haven suits with their own private pool and lounge area. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
This was my 11th cruise, 4th with NCL and 3rd Transatlantic crossing. After sailing NCL Epic 3 times and being a solo traveller wishing to visit New York as soon as the itinerary details were released I booked this cruise before most of ... Read More
This was my 11th cruise, 4th with NCL and 3rd Transatlantic crossing. After sailing NCL Epic 3 times and being a solo traveller wishing to visit New York as soon as the itinerary details were released I booked this cruise before most of the ship was even revealed. I can't help comparing with the Epic as that's my most recent and nearest match to Norwegian Breakaway. I'd selected a Studio Cabin after having enjoyed the "perks" of the studios on Epic. Check-in and boarding was simple, uneventful and well co-ordinated. I'd dropped my bags off before 11 and was onboard before 12. Finding the studios proved a tad more difficult than expected as the doors are not correctly marked and it appears like you are entering a crew restricted area. A small sign on the wall next to the door is not easily spotted when walking down the corridor and the lounge is "hidden" away. First impressions were how small the lounge was, a lot of the Epic features like a fridge, vending machine, events flipchart etc.. were absent and the lounge is a 1/4 to 1/3 of that onboard Epic. During the weeks meetings the lounge was packed and so noisy you could barely move or hear yourself speak. The cruise staff solo co-ordinator tried her best with sign up sheets brought to meetings but without any notice board you had to be there every night to hear any updates/amendments. Unlike Epic no breakfast cereals etc were brought to the lounge each morning. Also in the evening after returning from Bliss etc there was no cookies/snacks and the drinks machine for hot chocolate or any other drink seemed to be permanently on clean mode from midnight!! :( The studio cabins have changed a little: For those who have stayed in an Epic Studio Cabin the differences are: 1) The stool that fitted under the small table under the TV now doesn't fit as it's a square one. This meant I couldn't open the sliding door to the right!! 2) The above mentioned phone is no longer touchscreen with that dimmer light to remove the screen but a standard button phone (saving money?) 3) The mood lighting has gone! 4) the shower door now opens like a normal door rather than on Epic where it slides inside the cubical. This has the awkward affect of when you open the door not being able to reach the towels hanging on the inter-cabin wall mirrored door without getting fully out the shower and closing the door!! 5) Life jacket is now under the bed in one of the clothes bins rather than at the bottom of the wardrobe. 6) new switches in the cabin (in all cabins I think) for make up and do-not disturb. you can't press both at the same time (I did try to see ). the affect is that above the cabin doors there are three little LEDs. One lights when in theory someone is in the cabin (a card in the light/power slot), thats a yellow/white one, a green one for when make-up switch is pressed, red one for do not disturb. 7) For the ladies (and some guys) in the shower is a new foot rail!! 8) The card slot that used to just control lights now controls all the power as well. If a card is not in there the plugs dont work and anything left on charge wont charge! Not sure how that works if people have health equipment or other stuff in there but it was a pain if you wanted to charge phones/cameras say in the evening when at dinner. Some people put their own card/store type card in the slot to fool it. I heard of at least one person who's steward removed this said card! The new features like the Waterfront were great and I enjoyed the greater sea views from all the open decks. The food as ever was great, I'm not a big fussy eater but some people will find comments on food fit for a king but not for them.. It's food.. I enjoyed the beer package and this will save some money for future cruises. Even with 6 sea days the cruise went very quickly, breakfast was served until late each morning at O'Sheehan's so no need to get up early. When the Sun was out is when the ship comes alive and that is the main issue with this ship, it's highly focused on the new outdoor area and activities and so a cold spring transatlantic crossing is not the best of weathers to fully appreciate all it has available. So I guess a summary of the ship is: Pluses: Waterfront (if hot weather) Plenty of open decks and improved upper decks above Haven Increased size of O'Sheehan's Better venue for cirque dreams Better venue for Fat Cats First cruise with beverage package saved me money Fireworks were good Pleasant staff as always Minuses: Spice H2O smaller and hidden away Bliss nowhere near as good as Epic Solo Lounge and facilities far less than on Epic Needs warm weather! The likes of the mini golf and ropes are good if gimmicky as once you've done them any repeat cruises you probably wouldn't do again. If I sail on Breakaway again it would have to be in warmer weather to see how it leverages the upper decks and waterfront, also I wouldn't pay the extra over an inside for a Studio. I was planning to do Getaway to Miami next Jan but probably won't now due to the studio and high costs for so many cold winter sea days. Full review with pics is available at http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1842587 Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
I have just returned from a transatlantic cruise on the new Norwegian Breakaway. Here is a summary of my experience and personal opinion. First of all I made the mistake of booking direct with NCL which turned out to be a lengthy ... Read More
I have just returned from a transatlantic cruise on the new Norwegian Breakaway. Here is a summary of my experience and personal opinion. First of all I made the mistake of booking direct with NCL which turned out to be a lengthy nightmare (eventually got sorted after numerous long distance phone calls) wont be doing that again , will book with a travel agency in future. Check in at Southampton was complete chaos with the systems continually breaking down and causing lengthy queues. I would have thought there would have been some kind of welcome reception for us after all it was an inaugural voyage and believing the hype was expecting something special. But nothing , not even the welcome you get when returning to the ship from a visit to a port. I found the ship to be a letdown as having been on the Epic, I expected this ship to be even better instead I found it to b very badly laid out, i.e.lack of public areas and hardly any open space around the pool which on the epic was a great gathering place for dancing and entertainment during the day. I also was amazed by the Theatre which was just rows of seats with a stage and in no way anything like the beautiful theatres on other ships especially the epic. I believe the ship was not full and yet the theatre was crammed every night. I would definitely not like to be trying to get to see a show if it was full. It was totally inadequate. The shows also seemed to all be on at the same time so decisions had to be made. Another thing not taken into consideration was the fact that the shows started at 7 pm and the splash academy didn't open for kids til 7 pm. Most of the shows stated that latecomers would not be allowed in which meant that each night one member of our party could not go as it was impossible to get from splash academy at deck 12 down to the theatre at the same time. Ridiculous. I had an inside stateroom which was very small and not enough closet space and no drawers at all. The fridge under the dressing table made it impossible to sit at the mirror straight on to do hair and make up etc. Also with the key card operating lights and sockets nothing could be left on charge except at night. very inconvenient for cameras , ipods etc., how crazy is that in this modern world. Food in garden cafe was hit and miss, sometimes good sometimes, cold,and badly cooked, but my main complaint is that lots of dishes had no signs to say what they were, everyone is not familiar with all type of food and this is essential. I found myself constantly enquiring from the staff , What is this dish, and found some of them (not all , I stress) to be quite indifferent to my request. Also at the drinks stations, the cups were up one end causing chaos when trying to cross over from the juices and glasses. There should have been cups both ends and glasses both ends. At the fruit stations it was nearly impossible to open the plastic flap with a plate in your hand as the counter was so narrow that when you lifted the flap it knocked your plate off. a lot of the stuff couldn't be reached for this reason and people were trying to hold plates for each other. The staff were not what I have become accustomed to from other cruises. Some, (again , I stress, not all) were friendly and helpful, especially Fery my room attendant, but I found a lot to be cold, indifferent, and unknowledgable when asking for help or directions on board. In the hype I read about this maiden voyage it said there would be fireworks every night on the crossing , but this only happened one night and that was very late when most of us especially the kids had gone to bed. Other than this there was nothing else to mark the occasion. I was also amazed that the ship slunk into harbour in the middle of the night and no one got to see our arrival in New York. I would have expected more day time entertainment for a transatlantic cruise but it was mostly geared towards selling us stuff and buying tickets for bingo and other games etc. Very very disappointing. Another thing as a Lattitudes member I have always got 10% off my purchases on board but on this ship it was confined to items with the breakaway or NCL logo only, making it a waste of time. Over all my experience on board this cruise and ship in particular was very disappointing . Instead of progressing, NCL seem to have gone backwards with their ship design, and I firmly believe that this was just a shakedown voyage for the Bermuda cruises from New York as nobody made any fuss of us or about the voyage in any way. I will definitely not be going on Breakaway again, and would even hesitate to use NCL again if it were not for the magnificent EPIC. One last thing, there are only two banks of lifts, one at the back and one in the middle, this is completely inadequate. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2013
After a beautiful, full service, wonderful cruise over to Southampton on another cruise line, we were really disappointed in the overall experience on the NCL Breakaway. Embarkation: what a mess, chaos! Took about 3 hours and we were ... Read More
After a beautiful, full service, wonderful cruise over to Southampton on another cruise line, we were really disappointed in the overall experience on the NCL Breakaway. Embarkation: what a mess, chaos! Took about 3 hours and we were the first in line. Cabin: the cabin was not clean. Very dusty, very very small, no room for clothes, no drawers and only a couple shelves to put clothes on. The cabin steward was nice, but didn't even start to so call clean the room until 2 in the afternoon. Only emptied the garbage in the bathroom once that week. No place to put my makeup on or blow-dry my hair. Had to stand up because the mirror was too high to put a chair in front of it. The shower I will say is quite large compared to other ships. I was going to pack the lotion from my previous cruise and thought, no they will have lotion on the NCL, but NO! All the soaps and shampoo etc were in refillable bottles attached to the walls. Hmmmm. Design: this ship is designed for one thing and one thing only from what I can tell. That is to charge, and charge and more charging for everything on the ship. Everything you could ever want, you can have it all for an extra charge. In fact I couldn't get over all the "tacky" advertisements all over the ship for all the special restaurants. It was way out of hand in my opinion. Everywhere you turn, more adds for specialty restaurants. Everyone I spoke with that got off the ship that I had just gotten off of was really disappointed and all said they will probably never go on an NCL again. Entertainment: I must say that the "Burn The Floor" dance show was unbelievable!! I was really impressed. I loved it. Could not have been better!! Also the Slam band was perfect!!!! Two best experiences on the ship!!!!! Dining: Well, it was ok. The music was so loud in every space. It needs to be toned down. Overall this was my least favorite cruise ever. I am not a negative person and this is the first bad review I have ever done. I just think people should be aware of what's going on. Service: when I would ask (and yes I always HAD to ask for everything, there is not alot of "service" going on, I felt like I was really putting the workers out. That's just so sad. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
After 20+ cruises it's time to submit a review especially after reading all the whining about this cruise. We do not fly and normally sail with Princess and NCL. We sailed to Southampton via the Crown Princess for 2 weeks and it was ... Read More
After 20+ cruises it's time to submit a review especially after reading all the whining about this cruise. We do not fly and normally sail with Princess and NCL. We sailed to Southampton via the Crown Princess for 2 weeks and it was delightful. The day we arrived in Southampton we transferred to the Breakaway for the 7 day T/A to NYC. This ship is amazing. The entertainment is outstanding. We booked directly through NCL as we always do. The agent told us 2 things up front: This is not a normal port for NCL (which explains any boarding confusion in Southampton) and this was the T/A to get the ship to NYC. The hoopla would commence there and not before. Those complaining about this & that should be ashamed given what was paid for this trip no matter what category cabin you paid for. Yes, there are design flaws and the cabins are teeny tiny but the showers are to die for. The ship has so much to offer for all ages. Since the weather was a factor only indoor activities could be appreciated. We are 65+ yrs old and found all the entertainment to be great. Rock of Ages was fun, Burn the Floor was incredible. Slam Allen was great. Second City was very good as usual and Graffiti Classics was a hoot. The food was just ok but then all cruse food is only ok unless you are willing to pay for the extra tariff restaurants. There is no perfect ship or cruise line. If there were we would all be on the same ship. We met the CEO Mr.Sheehan on 2 occasions. In the 5 years he has been at the helm he has done his best and has our vote of confidence. The lights in the cabin are controlled by inserting your key card. After locking myself out only once I realized all you had to do was put something like a piece of cardboard in the slot. We used our Princess key card from the week before. Since we live in Florida it is not likely that we will be on the Breakaway again but the Getaway will be home ported out of Miami and we will we booking a cruise on that ship in the future. -- Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
I travelled on the Norwegian Breakaway on its journey from Southampton to New York. I was traveling by myself on this trip, leaving my wife and Son at home. Whilst a transatlantic crossing has always been on my wish list, my wife ... Read More
I travelled on the Norwegian Breakaway on its journey from Southampton to New York. I was traveling by myself on this trip, leaving my wife and Son at home. Whilst a transatlantic crossing has always been on my wish list, my wife didn't like the idea of that many days at sea, so we decided I should go on my own. The Breakaway crossing seemed ideal as it went from the UK to New York, which was my preferred route. This was my third cruise, all with NCL. We did a Baltic cruise on the Norwegian Dream back in 2003 before starting a family and in 2012 we returned to cruising on the Norwegian Epic in the Med. We have plans for a number of further cruises over the next couple of years, starting with the Epic again in a couple of weeks time. We very much like NCL and the freestyle concept, and really don't like the idea of traditional cruise dining. I won't say much about the boarding process as the Breakaway is unlikely to visit Southampton again, but it was very efficient and I was on the ship by about 11.30am. Whilst the rooms were not available at the time, I was able to drop off my bag, which was very handy and made exploring the ship much easier. I spent a few hours getting to know the layout of the ship. Having been on the Epic, many things were familiar, although it was easy to get mixed up with some things, such as the garden cafe being at the rear of the ship compared to the front on the Epic. Overall I was very impressed with the public areas of the ship. O'Sheehans has very similar to the Epic, other than the fact that there was no view of the sea as it is on the lifeboat deck. The lobby was also similar but seemed much busier all through the week than on the Epic. The entertainment venues (Fat Cats and Headliners) were very similar to the Epic, although the seating was different with more tables as opposed to the rows of seats that I was used to. I heard a number of complaints about the size of Bliss, although I don't generally go to the night club so it didn't effect me much. On the Epic, Bliss is used for other events (some Nickelodeon events were held there and also I believe it is often used for Meet & Greets). I wonder whether the loss of this venue for such events may be a problem in the future. I absolutely loved the Waterfront. We had some good weather before sailing from Southampton and sitting outside Fat Cats with a beer was the perfect way to start a holiday. For most of the week, the weather wasn't good enough for the Waterfront to be used fully, but on the second to last day the sun came out and it was a perfect place to sit and relax. When the ship is sailing in good weather this will be a wonderful place to spend time, although I do have concerns about overcrowding. On the first morning, I looked for somewhere to be able to walk on the ship and started off at the jogging track at the top of the ship. There were a number of issues here. The track is short, meaning that you needed to do 8 laps for a mile, and there were often people in the way, especially where it passes the rock climbing wall. I then went to the Waterfront and this is a much better place in my opinion. A lap of the Waterfront is about quarter of a mile and takes around 4-5 minutes to walk. A few of us were walking there each morning, and there were two ways to do it. I favoured complete laps, which meant having to cross through the ship at the point where the Waterfront ends, whilst others turned back at this point and stayed outside. Overall, it was a fairly popular place for early morning walking, but never got to busy. I spent about 90 minutes a day walking round, which set me up for the day and (I like to think) earned me an extra beer or two. Overall, the Waterfront will be the thing I miss most when I'm back on the Epic. I was staying in an Oceanview cabin on deck 5, which was more than adequate for just myself. On the CC cabin crawl, my cabin looked quite big compared to the Balcony Room and Mini Suites we were shown. This was because I didn't have a sofa which made the room seem more roomy. Overall I was pleased with the room. It has been mentioned many times, but I must reiterate that the balconies on this ship are very small. When I go back on the ship with the family we will certainly be looking at booking one of the M6 Mini Suites or an Aft room, as the standard balconies are just too small especially as my wife and I often end up sitting out there at night after our son has gone to sleep. As I was travelling by myself, I went prepared to spend the time reading and relaxing, but on the first evening I attended the solo travelers function in the Studio lounge. I understand from others that the lounge is significantly smaller than on the Epic, and overall it attracted a lot of negative comment. Having never been in the Epic lounge, it seemed OK to me, although there were not enough seats for everyone at the solos meet up. Another negative comment was about the lack of a flipchart to help people organise meals etc. Apparently this is something which had previously been discussed and Meghan, the NCL Rep, had been told that they couldn't have one. I hope that NCL reconsider this for the future. However, a number of events were arranged, including a visit to Cirque Dreams, the Ice Bar and Modernos, as well as a meal at the Manhattan Room. Of these, I only attended the Manhattan Room dinner as the others either didn't appeal or I was doing them separately. Having met up with some other solo travellers, I spent much less of the cruise by myself than I had planned. I formed part of a larger group, some of whom previously knew each other and some who didn't, who joined together or went our separate ways as we pleased. It made for a very enjoyable holiday as I was able to do things with people, but could also spend some time doing my own thing whenever I wanted with no pressure. Thanks to everyone who I spent time with during the week. Having expected to eat by myself most nights, I ended up having meals in the Manhattan Room, Taste, Savor, Moderno, Shanghai's and Teppanyaki with various other people. Overall, the food was pretty well as I had expected. I have previously eaten in Moderno and this was as good as on the Epic. Teppanyaki was also very good, with the show as enjoyable as I had previously heard reported and excellent food. I was very impressed with Shanghai's and as well as having an evening meal there, I also went by myself one lunchtime for a snack. As it is an a la carte menu you can just nip in for one dish instead of having a full meal. The main dining rooms were also very good, and the New York Strip I had at Savor one lunch time was probably the best meal I had all week. It was cooked just how I like it. I also ate in O'Sheehans a couple of times for lunch. The menu is the same as the Epic, and the Chicken Pot Pie just as good. I also tried the burger which was better than I remembered it. Breakfast at O'Sheehans was also very good. I had booked to see Rock of Ages, although I didn't have great expectations of the show. It did exceed my expectations, but I probably wouldn't bother with it again. I'm not saying the show was bad, just not really my thing. I also went to Graffiti Classics in the main theatre, which was quite enjoyable. A string quartet playing a variety of music, with some comedy thrown in, it was a nice way to pass an hour. My favorites, as I expected, were Slam Allen in Fat Cats and Howl at the Moon in Headliners. I had seen Slam almost every night on the Epic and did the same this time. However, for some reason I had missed Howl at the Moon last year, but didn't make the same mistake twice. They were great fun, and it was just a shame that at times both Slam and Howl were on at the same time. I did try out Second City, which was OK but after half an hour I decided that I would enjoy myself more in Fat Cats. I didn't go to Burn the Floor, but having heard the comments of others I think I should have. We will certainly go to that show when we return to the Breakaway. It was a bit of a disappointment to hear that we would be arriving in New York in the middle of the night, but a lot of people were up between 3 and 4am to see us go under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and up the Hudson. I suspect that early morning entries into New York will be quite common as ships usually dock early so if you are on the Breakaway then make the most of leaving from New York, but I would also recommend being on deck for the return, as seeing the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline lit up is quite an experience. Overall, I was very impressed with the Norwegian Breakaway. Yes there are some issues like the size of the Balconies and at times the service was slow, but other things more than make up for it and I'm sure that the service speed will improve in the coming weeks. The staff were, as usual, very friendly. I was also very impressed with the Solo traveller experience on NCL. It is easy to meet up with others and, whilst I turned up by myself, by the end of the cruise there were probably about 20 people that I could stop and chat with around the ship. It really is an excellent way of solo traveling. I'm looking forward to taking my family on the ship, hopefully next year. I'd recommend it to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
My husband and I cruised the transatlantic inaugural cruise and felt the whole experience was average. The ship is beautiful and decorated very well but fell short on the space for many of the activities. We are older and like quiet ... Read More
My husband and I cruised the transatlantic inaugural cruise and felt the whole experience was average. The ship is beautiful and decorated very well but fell short on the space for many of the activities. We are older and like quiet places to read and watch the ocean go by, and this ship lacked those type of places. There is no quiet places on the decks outside to just lay back and relax and read, there was loud music and activities when it was nice enough to be on deck near the pool. The library, card room, fitness center and venues like Fat Cats, Headliners, theater and Atrium were small and crowded and there were only 2800 people on board and not sure what it will be like with 4000. We were unable to use much of the outside areas as the weather on the North Atlantic is pretty cool, which made the inside areas congested. We had an inside cabin for the first time in years and I have to admit it was very adequate. There was good use of space and storage was fine for us, but we do travel light. The bathroom was very nice and spacious for a ship. The interactive TV was very handy and made checking your account, booking shows and dinning very easy. TV to watch was not very good, free movies on a printed schedule would really be nice. The food on the ship was very good and the Garden Buffet was huge. Moderna the Brazillian restaurant was excellent. The 3 main dinning rooms were very nice, but the service was slow at times, and at time difficult to get in at busier times. One problem was there was no place except the Garden area to get coffee, water and ice tea, and if you were on deck 8 you had to go to deck 15 or the Atrium cafe and pay for coffee. The best place to eat at that was free was the PUB on deck 8. Food and service was excellent. The entertainment was good, but not sure I liked having to book ahead to go see the shows that were free, like Rock of Ages and Burn the Floor, and I miss not having a show every evening to go to. The theater was small and like a movie theater instead of a show theater. The waiters have a difficult time getting drinks out as they have to crawl over people at the beginning of the rows. Both Fat Cats and Headliners were way to small and the seating in those 2 places was uncomfortable. Fire and Ice were great, but again the Atrium was too small to just sit and enjoy them as it was hard to find a place to sit. The cruise was fine, but feel the company has some things to fix. The places that are for profit have all the space, shops, casino and the restaurant that have fees, the other public areas are small. We wouldn't take this ship again, but were glad to have the opportunity to go on a first voyage once. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
About Me: I'm a 31 year old male who traveled with my mid-60's mother. A cruising friend of mine also came along traveling solo in a standard interior cabin. For me this was my 26th cruise and 15th with Norwegian Cruise Line ... Read More
About Me: I'm a 31 year old male who traveled with my mid-60's mother. A cruising friend of mine also came along traveling solo in a standard interior cabin. For me this was my 26th cruise and 15th with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). I've traveled several brands including Princess, Royal Caribbean and even once on Carnival. My most recent cruise was on Celebrity Millennium to Asia. I tend to gravitate to the Freestyle Cruising concept because it's easier to deal with for luggage then hauling a suit everywhere and it tends to be more hip than other lines. I've sailed on every class of NCL ships including Jewel, Dawn, Spirit, Sun and the one-off EPIC. It was mom and I and some 2,800 other guests for this transatlantic voyage. Embarkation: Since we were so close we walked to the terminal as we stayed at the Holiday Inn next door. We happened to enter by the porters who took our luggage right away. The lines were crazy for non-Latitudes members while other queues were empty. Being a Platinum Latitudes I entered the queue and was handled within 10 minutes time. We sat briefly in the boarding area waiting for our color to be called and tried to enter the ship. On the gangway from the terminal shore-side experienced a power outage just as we were to cross to the ship. The lady on it yelled at us and told us to stop and come back. So close to the ship and yet so far! It was a good 10 minutes in the stifling entry way before we were cleared to board. All the while Denis Prguda, Breakaway's Hotel Director, was talking to us from the ship. Finally we were allowed to board the ship and told our cabins were ready. We immediately went there to dump off our bags before grabbing some lunch. Balcony Stateroom 11160: The first thing I noticed were the lights not turning on when pressed. I saw the keycard holder and stuck it in and voala lights! I didn't realize the keycard holder also applied to every single outlet in the room and once removed anything plugged in stopped charging! What a silly way to design the electrical system but a good workaround is to put a card of some kind in the slot and just leave it there. This posed a problem with NCL's new design for being in the cabin for the stateroom attendants. If the white indicator on the left was on it meant you were in the room, if not then you were out of the room. Our indicator was constantly on. The middle red one was for do not disturb and the green was for make up cabin. I like the click wheels on the Jewel / Dawn class ships far better than this concept! Moving into the room the couch is very spacious and the beds were in a twin configuration, when I opened the balcony door and stepped out I saw why. Where is the balcony I paid for? It was the size of a postage stamp and if I wanted just an ocean view cabin I would have paid far less than I did! The balcony was super disappointing. Since the weather was chilly I didn't get to spend too much time on it but I did spend a little time each day. You couldn't sit comfortably facing forward without having your knees in the glass of the balcony wall / railing. You had to move the chair sideways and either face forward or aft to sit comfortably. The balcony was also made out of plastic except for where the supports were underneath attaching it to the ship. I thought this was strange. I've never seen balconies like that before. I suppose it's good to cut down on rust and makes the ship lighter in weight (fuel efficiency). I'm tall (6'4") so when I went into the bathroom I noticed I couldn't see my full face without slouching in the mirror. The light had been placed the whole length of the bathroom mirror obstructing my face. It meant I had to shave in the cabin by the mirror at the balcony. The lighting at that mirror was actually better for shaving with all lights in the cabin on then the soft lighting in the bathroom. Later I would notice the shower head only had one setting "rain" and not the options other NCL ships have with a pulsating or steady hard setting. I truly missed the shower heads of other NCL ships. The only thing I could think of as a reason for this was to save money. Most of the changes to the room were for that purpose it seemed. There was plenty of storage space for two people in the cabin. There are shelves everywhere including drawers under the sofa. The problem with the closet was it was buttoned up against the bed so you had barely any room to get into it. The doors to the closet slid sideways and thankfully not outward! Our cabin also had a coffeemaker setup on the desk and some scuffs in the wood paneling at the foot of the bed which was there on arrival. The rest of this review will be written in the order of how I experienced events on the ship just to make it flow better: DAY 1: Embarkation Day After leaving the cabin we headed to lunch in Savor restaurant before heading out to explore the rest of the ship. I had the traditional NY strip steak with fries and the Vietnamese Spring Roll. I noticed the fleet lunch menu was still in effect even for this new ship. The decor of Taste and Savor is identical with the ONLY difference being the type of artwork on display. The glass vases are orange in one restaurant and blue in the other as well as the paintings on the wall. The decor here lacks any wow factor and Taste on Epic is far better. On Deck 6 we passed a larger Teppanyaki restaurant before coming to Le Bistro where they had dining on the terrace outside the restaurant just beneath the chandelier. Headliners comedy club was exceptionally dark inside except at the bar. Most of the ships 6-7-8 Ocean Place reminded me of the Norwegian Epic. The only difference was on Deck 6 the bottom of the chandelier was an alley way to walk through to get to Savor, Taste and Mixx Bar with the seating for Le Bistro being seen from Decks 7 & 8. The atrium area was similar to Epic. Forward on Deck 6 was the Spiegel Tent which was closed for rehearsals. On Deck 7 was the Breakaway Theater which seemed to be of similar size to the Norwegian Epics and with the same basic design concept of exposed ceilings. Outside the Breakaway Theater was all this open space which unless you were standing in line to get into the theater was not used at all and wasted. The theater could have been made larger or something could have better used this space. O'Sheehans continues to occupy the second story of the two wall video screened atrium. This time the $5 per game bowling alley is hidden away in the far corner on the starboard side facing forward with the other arcade games. Heading aft from O'Sheehans is the Breakaway Casino. One could already smell the smoke lingering in the air. After Epic you'd have thought NCL would have fixed the problem on the Breakaway... NOPE!! The smoke still escapes from the casino and comes up to Deck 8's shakers martini bar. I can't fathom what it will be like when the ship sails full and with tons of smokers. Not only does the smoke carry up but it also heavily pollutes the Shanghai Noodle bar located adjacent to the casino and with no wall barriers to stop it. Bliss lounge is opposite the noodle bar and if it wasn't because I knew before boarding what the entrance looked like I would have walked right past it! This was to be the highlight of my vacation. You're at sea for 7 days what else does a 30 something do but dance, drink and have a good time? I walked in and noticed the LED wall and looked at the headroom with intelligent lighting. I had plenty of head space which was one nice feature but I noticed the size of the venue and wondered what would happen if the entire ship showed up there? It's far too small and far smaller than on EPIC. I'm not sure what the thought process was behind throwing it in the smoky casino which you had to walk through to get in there but you had to walk a good distance to go to the bathroom from there as well. Aft on Deck 7 and 8 is the Manhattan Room, Cagney's and Moderno in the same setup as Epic. Ocean Blue on Deck 8 mid-ship with its $35 cover charge and the a la carte Raw Bar with Wasabi adjacent to it. On the other side is Shaker's Martini Bar which is in the same location as the Epic with one important difference. They have put up dividers to keep people corralled in the bar area so the walkway to the gift shops from forward remains clear. Next to the Shakers bar is the Ice Bar and forward is the Maltings Whiskey Bar which has a nice Scottish theme to it. Be sure to check out the photos on the wall. The cigar lounge is also located in this area. Maltings should be by the casino if you're going to allow smoking there because you could smell the cigar smoke just by passing through the bar area. In the forward general passenger area was Fat Cats and La Cuccina. I ventured outside to the Waterfront. The funny thing about this is to get outside you have to touch the panel to open the door. With how norovirus spreads by touching contaminated surfaces, why would you add more surfaces people could get contaminated from? Luckily we didn't seem to have a problem with noro on our sailing. The Waterfont was great to use to as it was far less windy then the jogging/walking track topside. If the temperatures were warmer I'm sure they would have opened the outside seating for the restaurants. It looks like it will be quite the happening place! Muster Drill: NCL uses a new reader based system for the bar code on your room card to show you attended the drill. It's fast and efficient scanning. Please note you shouldn't take pictures during muster, even if you can't hear anything because the public address system in the Breakaway Theater wasn't working. A lady was very stern borderline rude when I snapped a picture of the stage. The venue was closed earlier when I was touring this deck due to a rehearsal. As I mentioned the public address system didn't work in the theater and eventually it was determined they would only show us how to put the life jackets on and then release us. This was the first encounter of things on the ship not working as they should have and also dangerous. I was hoping they fixed that sooner rather than later because in the unlikely event of an emergency we wouldn't have had a clue what was going on in the theater. Dinner tonight was in the Manhattan Room aft on Deck 7. There was a live band playing during dinner service consisting of three guys. During tonight's dinner service we saw the fleet standard menu was in full effect with one exception of the tortilla crisp not being available. It turns out some of the ingredients for it (avocados) was not provisioned on the ship prior to it leaving Germany. The ship was provisioned there before heading out on its voyages to the USA. I stuck with the traditional spring roll and one of the meat entrees which were delicious. Service was good tonight! After dinner I went to the Friends of Dorothy gathering for a bit at Shaker's Martini Bar. It was so packed that people were going to the bar outside on the Waterfront sending a cold blast into the ship each time the door opened. Next it was off to see the featured entertainment in the Breakaway Theater. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: GRAFFITI CLASSICS This group was amazing. They danced while playing their instruments and did comedy between songs while they caught their breath and really got the audience involved. Look them up online and you'll see what I'm talking about. They were a highlight in the entertainment line up for me out of the entire week. Next it was off to Bliss Lounge for the evenings disco and to meet up with a crew friend from the Dawn who was spinning. DJ Keith helped the night along with playing classics to start off the night from the disco era and moving up to current top 40 remixes by the end of the evening. My friend and I said hello and snapped some photos and stayed a while for some drinks and retired. I was beat after not getting a good night sleep in anticipation of the cruise! Day 2 -- Wednesday - SEA DAY With the first of five time adjustments going back I woke up in time to make it to the Walk-A-Mile at 8:30AM on the jogging track. The runners were not appreciative of this and were constantly zooming past on this small track. It was clear if you wanted to walk the Oceanfront was a better location for doing so. We walked until the cruise staff member disappeared and then went for breakfast in the Garden Cafe. The menu lineup in the Garden Cafe was pretty standard of what you'd find for breakfast foods anywhere. Nothing was too exotic and we got our food and next we were to find a place to sit down. I don't know if all 2800 passengers were in there or not but you couldn't find a place to sit to save your life! It was just after 9AM. We shared a table with some lovely folks from Louisiana and had a conversation about the ship and what their impressions were about the gym since I hadn't seen it yet. Next up featured the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet. It was the largest I'd ever attended on any Norwegian ship. All members of NCL's senior management team onboard as well as shoreside showed up to the event. Kevin Sheehan (CEO), Klaus (now a VP) and Annemarie Matthews (PR Manager) were all present along with the Captain Haavard who was transferring to Star Cruises at the end of our voyage, Denis Prguda (Hotel Director) and Julie (Cruise Director). During this event Klaus presented our group with a very large chocolate cake saying congrats! It was a nice touch and Kevin Sheehan worked the room a bit before the meeting concluded. I went for a super quick lunch in the buffet with a salad and met up with Mike for the Officer's Profile question and answer session. I was impressed with most of the questions the audience asked. They ranged from what the ship's average speed would have to be to get to NYC on time to Kevin explaining how he understands what the crew go through to live on the ship for long periods of time. He even answered my question about NCL expanding their horizons and going to other places around the globe. He seemed to imply that Asia may not be too far off in their deployment since Genting Hong Kong's Star Cruises operates from there so they have a training base and logistics already setup. However, this is not in the near future but may happen in 2017 when the Breakaway Plus 2 is delivered. Kevin made it sound that it's only a matter of time before they get the financing up to exercise the option. Immediately after we headed up to the ropes course because if I waited too long to think about it I would have chickened out for sure. After signing my life away (a mandatory waiver) and getting the harness in place, it was time for some final tether checks and up the stairs into the ropes course I went. I got up the top and froze hugging the pole. I have a fear of heights and the cruise staff members up in the ropes course saw this. The one at the end of the zip line repeatedly called over to me to make sure I was ok. I eventually made it to the plank and did the zip line as well! Afterwards I went for hot cocoa and then I ventured down to the photo gallery to see the photo taken on the plank. I learned the camera on the plank was not working!! I wasn't happy about that after all I'd gone through to get out there. It was a lot for me and now I'd have to muster the courage to do it again?! SPECIALTY DINING: Moderno Churrascaria Tonight mom, Mike and I dined at my favorite restaurant venue on the ship. This oldie but goodie was introduced on the EPIC and spread fleet-wide due to its popularity. You start with the salad bar which is just as extensive as Epic's. The labels were missing on the salad dressing and actually on most everything on the salad bar. I stopped the Assistant Maitre'd to ask what they were and he responded. When we sat back down our first server told us he was needed elsewhere on the ship and a female server named Ruby Vallejos came over and said welcome back and that she recognized me from the Norwegian Dawn and thanked me for writing her a STYLE card. I was stunned she remembered me. I made it a point to pick up Vacation Hero cards (NCL's new STYLE card name) and wrote her yet another one. The dinner service was fantastic and the meats if they were too rare were all too happily cooked to our liking. I was the last one to flip my card to red but that's become customary! I love this restaurant and highly recommend it especially if you like sampling all sorts of meats. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Burn the Floor "Steppin' Out" Tonight was the first of a series of performances by the dance troupe who would later do a full show in the Breakaway Theater. The performers all seemed older and more refined in their movements which I could see at the beginning. As time wore on and more passengers poured into the dining room sightlines were obstructed. People stood around the dance floor blocking everyone else that showed up early and got a seat. The only way to see the actual performer's movements was to view the reflection of the dance off the aft windows. At my angle I could see some of the movements. A show focused on dance is essential you see the performers feet movements. On Epic Legends was all singing so you just saw their upper torso it was fine. Burn the Floor didn't work quite so well in a crowded setting like this and unless they put risers on the dance floor to elevate the performers or put up a screen of some kind, the show only benefits those sitting in the front not anywhere else in the dining room. This was truly sad because I enjoyed what I could see of their performance and it made me really excited to see them at the end of the cruise. FEATURED NIGHTLIFE: FABBA: Fabulous ABBA Party The cruise staff seemed to want to showcase the ship so the party was held topside in a very cold Spice H2O. The mist from the cooling area was downright bone chilling. Even with a full winter jacket on I was still frozen. I talked with a cruise staff member and he said he was dancing his way to pneumonia. I wholeheartedly believed them. I felt so bad for the cruise staff that were wearing nothing but their outfits and went out into the really windy area of the dance floor and performed their numbers to hit ABBA songs. I lasted until the musical numbers were up and ditched the jacket in the cabin before checking out Bliss Lounge. Tonight Bliss Lounge had the LED lights on. It was also the first night to experience DJ Arias at the turntables as DJ Keith was topside at a quickly fading FABBA party. I didn't care too much for DJ Arias style as he was constantly remixing into and out of songs with only about a minute's worth of song plays. I don't care for scratching either, just let the song play and mix it right. His overkill of mixing was annoying to me so I ventured back upstairs to Spice to see it was dead and Julie and her cruise staff were taking down the decorations. I asked her kindly to make sure the White Hot Party was moved indoors. She said she'd take it under advisement and I went back to the disco for a little while longer before retiring for the evening.DAY 3 -- Thursday -- SEA DAY Today was more leisurely as I woke up later than I expected. I accompanied mom on a walk of the Waterfront before getting some breakfast at the Garden Cafe. Mom went back on the Waterfront and I did the complimentary Platinum Latitudes Behind-the-Scenes Tour. PLATINUM LATITUDE PERK: Behind-the-Scenes We gathered in front of the Cruise Consultant desk on Deck 6 and were split up into two groups. I didn't care much for the future cruise consultant so I made sure I was in the other group led by a nice young man named Killian from Guest Services (Philippines). He'd never been to these parts of the ship before either so this was all new to him. You could tell as he was looking around just as much as we were! Our first stop was laundry on Deck 2 forward. The elevators were quite small so most of us went down very narrow steps descending to the laundry room. Upon arrival we were greeted by the laundry master for the vessel who showed us around. It was tight quarters down there with less space then I've seen on any other laundry on any other ship. Also, there's a new two deck automated laundry system on this ship. It's on no other ship! It was quite amazing. They load it on Deck 2 and it washes everything there and spins it dry then it automatically lifts it to Deck 3 and finds a dryer to put it in and then the clean laundry is spit out for folding which happens on that deck on the opposite side. Personal laundry is still done in conventional machines on Deck 2 on the other side of this new big machine. Next it was off to the galley across the ship on Deck 6 to see where the food was made. The Executive Chef gave us a quick talk and took us around. I got to see where Carlos Bake Shop goodies were made and snapped a few pictures. I also noticed some condensation from the ceiling dripping down onto what appeared to be clean glassware in dishwashing area. I hope NCL corrects this before the CDC Vessel inspection or else they're going to get marked down for sure. The last stop was the Cirque Dreams and Dinner as the main theater was closed for rehearsals. The production manager brought us around the inside of the venue and then to the men's dressing room. We took the black hallway around the back of the venue which allows ease of movement for the performers between acts and also leads to the performer's cabins. I honored the production manager's request with no photos in the back areas of this venue. She was quite strict about it but in a more friendly way then the muster station lady earlier in the voyage in the Breakaway Theater. After lunch it was time to check out the Pulse Fitness center and go for a workout. Mom accompanied me up to the gym area by the spa and the gym was split up and cramped. The cardio side faced the ocean. All of the cardio equipment had their own individual TVs. I hopped on the elliptical and realized it even had games! Nice way to brain challenge yourself while balancing on an elliptical is to do Mahjong. I loved this piece of equipment. Next I headed across the hallway to the resistance area. This was a cramped space and thankfully in the afternoons it was dead. There were two benches along the free weight wall and then two rows of various machines for abs, chest, arms and legs. They had a dedicated spinning room and another aerobics studio. Both of these seemed to be a wasted space as all the times I went to workout no one was ever in them (no classes going on). A nice afternoon was capped by an early dinner in Manhattan Room which we had to rush through for tonight's... FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Rock of Ages Rock of Ages centers around 80s music and two main storylines featuring two young lovers and the destruction of the nightclub they both worked at by a wealthy developer. The show starts right out with risque attire by the women who wore nothing more than skimpy outfits through the whole show, sometimes to nothing more than just lingerie! I wouldn't have minded it so much if my mother wasn't sitting next to me. There were a lot of sexually suggestive movements. If I had seen this show alone or with someone other than my mother I may have enjoyed it more. The show had all sorts of elements and some I did appreciate such as the Mayor of West Hollywood at the end. Overall, I wouldn't recommend taking your mother to see this. I would also say do NOT take a kid under the age of 16 to see this show. It's grossly inappropriate for younger audiences. All in all I enjoyed the show but would strongly caution conservative people and parents to not attend this performance. I think NCL may need to italicize or bold the warning in their write-ups in the Freestyle Daily to make it stand out more. The show was 75 minutes long and ended with a mixed standing ovation. Some people left during the performance. Rock of Ages ended with some time between the start of tonight's featured nightlife so we ducked into Fat Cats lounge and listened to the vocals of Fire & Ice - a female vocalist and male vocalist/pianist from Barbados. I like their performances a lot and would stop by their performances for a few songs when they were in the atrium the rest of the cruise. They are a hidden gem on this sailing for sure. When we were sitting there I couldn't believe the speaker on the stage right was already cracked and you could definitely hear it. Hopefully NCL gets that speaker switched out and better monitors the sound levels. There was still a gap when Fire & Ice took a break so mom retired for the evening and Mike and I decided spur of the moment to try the Ice Bar. Reservations were not required and we just walked up and went in. I didn't try this on the EPIC and all it seemed to be was a walk-in freezer with a couple of ice sculptures: one of Lady Liberty, one of the Empire State Building and a chair made out of ice resembling the Brooklyn Bridge. The bar was made out of ice. The admission of $20 included two drinks. The place was freezing cold so that worked but the TVs inside were not functioning. We enjoyed our two cocktails and left. I come from a cold climate so I can say I experienced an ice bar but I will not be doing it again. FEATURED NIGHTLIFE: Norwegians Night Out Party sponsored by Ultimat Vodka Utlimat Vodka? I thought it was a joke. I've never heard of the vodka brand but the party was moved indoors from Spice H2O to the atrium with DJ Keith at the helm. I was informed by a consultant this party was mainly geared towards older folks with older songs playing and to not expect anything too current at tonight's event. It was basically to keep the older folks up past midnight. It seemed to work very well. I was not impressed with the amount of advertising for the vodka company. Since when does a night out on a cruise ship need a sponsor? It was silly enough when Svedka sponsored the Ice Bar. Don't we as passengers pay enough to get on the ship (especially this cruise) to not be subjected to such things? I guess not. I was not impressed with the night and I surely didn't try any of this vodka. The lure of the evening was to get you on the dance floor with prize giveaways every 5 to 12 minutes. Prizes ranged from a shot to free internet minutes. I moved over with my friend to Bliss where DJ Arias was spinning. Again tonight he was not playing the songs fully and the second you got out on the dance floor to dance it'd be mixed or scratched up in some way. I had enough and decided after drinking a bit waiting for the Night Out party to heat up I headed to O'Sheehans with my friend. When leaving Bliss it seemed like we were walking uphill and the ship was listing slightly. The winds had kicked up outside quite a bit as a storm front was approaching. I learned upon arrival that O'Sheehans late night menu has been scaled back fiercely. There are just five menu options and the favorite of several people which is the chicken tenders were not offered. A couple next to us asked for them as well and said to heck with it and left and ordered pizza. I wanted the chicken tenders as well and instead settled on a chicken pot pie. Even my late night snacks have been changed and eliminated. So many changes going on at NCL but I couldn't figure out why this one was eliminated? It's easier to throw chicken tenders in a fryolater with fries then it is to make a chicken pot pie!! Also there were no vegetarian options available on the late night menu. DAY 4 -- Friday -- SEA DAY This morning was interesting as the ship was rocking quite a bit from side to side. I felt it overnight in bed. I don't get seasick easily and I didn't either on this trip but the waves were quite large. I went to breakfast with mom and did the morning walk on the Oceanfront. I snapped some pictures of the waves breaking along the side of the ship and how quickly our wake was disappearing in the rough seas. I've been through worse on a cruise ship and Breakaway I thought was handling it well initially. As time went on the cabin started to creak and so did parts of the ship. Navigating in the buffet was challenging for my mom at breakfast so we decided to let the wait staff in the restaurant try and balance the food for lunch. The fleet lunch menu was presented again with two favorites chosen. The ship was rocking me to sleep so it was time for a disco nap. Mom went back out and walked the Oceanfront for a bit. Just as I was getting ready for dinner tonight Julie came on to announce Cirque Dreams show was cancelled due to the rough seas. People were still allowed to eat in the venue but no performance was done and they could re-schedule for another night without penalties. This gives you an idea of how rocky it was. The navigation channel said we were in "large waves" and I was missing the bow camera channel which didn't work the entire voyage. SPECIALTY DINING: La Cuccina We were seated promptly and the restaurant's maitre d stopped by to talk with us and share her experience about rough seas she experienced on the Norwegian Dream going around the tip of South America. She said this was nothing and after going through rough seas due to hurricanes I agreed with her. The Breakaway didn't seem to be doing so well, especially in this restaurant as in two places the ceiling tiles had come apart and risked falling on passenger's heads. Unrelated to the ship's internal movements was a burned out light bulb which seemed completely out of place on the chandelier. The dinner service was incredible and the steak was cooked to order. We finished up and headed out. I would later write a Dear Denis letter about the ceiling in La Cuccina and the light bulb and about the chicken tenders being taken away from the O'Sheehans late night menu. The next day a contractor was using tape to put the ceiling back together as I checked to follow-up. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: The Second City Scriptless This show was completely improv comedy. The cast was trying hard to make everyone laugh and was using words and suggestions from the audience to make their skits work. One word used threw the entire cast for a loop and it took forever for them to figure out what it was. They were drowning and it wasn't all that funny. I have skipped Second City on many cruises because their routine was always the same. This was different but still not that funny. I left scratching my head and wondered what they might have done with the murder mystery lunch later in the cruise. FEATURED NIGHTLIFE: Glow (The 'new' White Hot Party) Premiering on the Norwegian Breakaway in Bliss Lounge instead of topside at Spice H2O due to poor weather was GLOW, the all new spin on the White Hot Party. According to the consultant in charge of the change the White Hot Party was always dark with the black lights to make the white glow and NCL had always given out glow sticks during these events. Now the emphasis is to make the glow more prominent so the nightclub was done up with stretchable spandex cloths put in neon colors and neon spandex cruise staff danced the night away. Thankfully DJ Keith spun this party and it was a party like no other. Finally a good night in Bliss with the LED lights on, the black lights on and some crazy cruise staff! Bliss was the most packed I had seen the entire cruise. Everyone looked like they were having a great time until DJ Arias showed up to spin the late night set around 1-1:30AM. He had a hard time getting setup as he appeared to have report to work drunk or at least somewhat intoxicated. Right out of the gate he played a crowd stopper of Gagnam Style. It was out of place with the rest of the music of the evening and it just deteriorated from there. I took off for O'Sheehans and while waiting for my food to arrive DJ Arias walked in with a drink in hand and had some food too. Only 45 minutes had gone by and he'd successfully chased everyone from a fairly busy disco.DAY 5 -- Saturday -- SEA DAY Today started off like the other sea days with breakfast in the Taste / Savor complex and a walk of the Oceanfront to wait for the stateroom attendant to clean the room. We stopped in the shops for a bit and took notice of the expensive Breakaway gear for sale and I checked out my pictures from the Glow party the previous evening in Bliss. We stopped back to the stateroom to get ready for today's featured lunch: FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Dysfunktional Family Reunion feat. Second City When this was booked pre-cruise it was billed as the Murder Mystery lunch. I'd never done one on a cruise before but figured a Trans-Atlantic was a perfect time to try. When we got onboard we heard talk the show was being changed and upon arrival we learned there was no murder or mystery but rather an improv comedy skit again using words from the audience to have multiple family members get together for a reunion. Essentially this was the same show they do for free at night only the concept revolved around family members being a drunk, a foreign immigrant and a guy who was discharged from the Coast Guard for having gynecomastia. Lunch seemed to be the root cause of the fee and it was a set menu with a chicken and salmon entree choice. The couple who sat at the end of our table, especially the male was loud and obnoxious prior to the start of the skits that I was hoping he'd leave. The crew did a splendid job putting up with his performance and he chose to stay. He was displeased about the menu choices and about the bait and switch of the Murder Mystery for the improv show. I just don't find the Second City really funny. The lunch was amusing but not worth the upcharge for it. I was looking forward to polishing my own skills with acting the murder plots with my fellow guests so I have to say the bait and switch initially disappointed me and it just continued through their performance. I spent the duration of the afternoon resting before going to the 5:15PM Latitudes Party with my mom and my friend who were both Gold members. I snuck in with them since I'd have nothing to do for a while waiting for dinner. We sat down and talked with Rashida, the Hotel Director's secretary about how things were going and where she was off to next with the company and with Denis for Getaway. The music of Fire & Ice died down and the officers were introduced from Denis Prguda (HD), Captain Haarvard and Julie (CD) along with the Assistant Hotel Director. Captain Haarvard spoke with us about the ship and thanked us for our repeated loyalty. It was a nice gathering and it was nice to spend time with some of the staff. Tonight was a featured entertainment with dinner night but mom wasn't attending Cirque so we dined immediately after the Latitudes Party in the Manhattan Room and I had two slices of Prime Rib. It was very tender and very good. Mom and I split for the evening's entertainment. She went and saw the comedy magician Michael Finney and said he wasn't all that funny. According to her the people he brought up on stage were funnier then he was. I later heard this echoed by two other people who went to his second night show. I never attended so I can only relay what I heard. He'll be onboard until July as a group of us bumped into him at O'Sheehans late night and he stated he would be. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy This is a dinner and show together with yet another fixed menu of: tomato, mozzarella and prosciutto salad; coconut shrimp and beef tenderloin; and a dessert sampler trio. This dinner option was better than the Dysfunktional lunch menu but petite enough in size that I could eat the whole thing a couple of hours after eating in the dining room! Tip: Eat something beforehand or else be prepared to grab something in the buffet afterward! Back to the show, these guys and gals were spot on! They did individual acts as well as duo acts. The human juggling performance was just downright crazy! I have never seen anything like it at sea before and it's a challenge! I fully understand why Cirque was cancelled the previous day. It would have been far too dangerous to pull off half of what they do. We were in the standard seating seats and actually sitting tall I had better sightlines then folks in some premium seats. The stage rises in this Spiegel Tent as well helping get better sightlines. I highly recommend this show!!!! FEATURED NIGHTLIFE: Awesome 80's Party & FIREWORKS! Meeting back up with mom we headed up to Spice H2O where a sizeable crowd had gathered in the cold evening to watch the fireworks. To stay warm a lot of people took to the dance floor to enjoy classic 80s tunes. The cast of Rock of Ages was in attendance (although not in their outfits) and dancing the night away. About 45 minutes into the show a song played called "We Didn't Start the Fire" and the lights dimmed and the first pyrotechnics launched into the night sky. It was all choreographed to music. Prince's "Purple Rain" led to purple shells raining down over Spice H2O. It's important to note the port side of Spice H2O (facing forward) was roped off and for good reason. A couple of rogue embers did make their way back to the ship to be immediately snuffed out by a fire crew standing by. The show lasted about 8 -- 10 minutes and was well worth every minute standing in the cold. After the show ended I chose to stay awhile as people were stampeding to warmth and then head to bed. It was the last night of the cruise to set our watches back one hour. DAY 6 -- Sunday -- SEA DAY The earliest rise I'd had the entire cruise vacation led to a nice long walk on the sunny Oceanfront before having breakfast in the Taste / Savor complex. It was also a morning filled with conquering my fear of heights again and getting some pictures of me on the plank. Back up to the ropes course with a ton of new friends and one who stayed below to get pictures of us all (thanks Erika)!! Calming down from the ropes course it was a good time to try out the 9 hole golf course below. This is quite the challenging course with obstacles to keep the untrained mini-golfer entertained for several tries per hole! We cleared through the course in about 30 minutes and it was well worth it. Sadly the course had already showed signs of falling apart though. Some of the stingrays on the ground had their wings broken. It was a poor spot to put such specially crafted items as people did step on them. SPECIALTY LUNCH: Shangai Noodle Bar Finding a crew friend from the Norwegian Dawn working in this restaurant was the perfect excuse to don my Asian inspired shirt for today's lunch. Shangai is located on Deck 7 in the casino. There are no walls so the sounds of the slot machines and the smoke come readily into this venue. I ordered some pot stickers steamed and the Singapore Noodles entree and had some green tea for dessert. We got to talk to Roro, our waitress friend at length about how things were going on the ship and about where we're going in the future. She offered us the same great service we'd had from her at Cagney's on the Norwegian Dawn. The lunch was superb for the a la carte pricing. Pot stickers were $3.50 and the Singapore Noodles were $4.50. SPECIALTY EATERY: Carlos Bake Shop & Dolce Gelato Nestled in the back of Deck 8 in a very small area on the starboard side is the bake shop which on the outside doubles as Dolce Gelato. The bakeshop sold plenty of things including specialty cakes and cannolis. My friend tried the cannoli blindly without knowing the pricing. It was $3 for the treat which seemed quite steep compared to what you'd find in the North End of Boston. While waiting I noticed the glass case to the gelato stand was shattered. I had inquired and the attendant said it had spontaneously fractured yesterday during the rough seas and therefore gelato was not being offered today. By the end of the cruise my friend reported they had changed the glass and the gelato was back open. An afternoon nap led to the Platinum Latitudes Party gathering which I was the only one allowed to attend amongst my family and friends on the ship. It was a carbon copy of the previous day's events and I sat next to Miss Brooklyn who Sheehan jokingly accosted during the Officers Q&A earlier in the cruise. I reported to Denis about the cabin door jam face plate coming apart and wanting to have it fixed because it was causing the door to not close properly. We had told the stateroom attendant earlier in the cruise but no action had been taken. It would be fixed on the last night of our sailing. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Burn the Floor When the entertainment was first announced for Norwegian Breakaway this show was the one I was looking forward to the most and it didn't disappoint. The Breakaway theater is a much better venue for this as you can clearly see the dancers feet movements, hand gestures and facial expressions. The show was spot on and I wish had lasted much longer than 50 minutes. The stage was simplistic in designs but the costumes elaborate and dancing friendly. I thoroughly enjoyed this show and it was the highlight entertainment of the week for me. You have to check out all their shows everywhere throughout the ship. This cast is spot on! I was never able to attend one of their dance classes but there were several offered by them throughout the cruise! SPECIALTY DINING: Le Bistro On Deck 6 of 678 Ocean Place just under the chandelier on the starboard side is Le Bistro restaurant. Mom and I dined here this evening and received very friendly and personable service while sitting in their outside terrace dining under the chandelier. If you want to dine inside you can do so but they do have tables outside. The food was good as usual with the escargot, the onion soup and the lamb with the crème brulee dessert. The service was exceptional although I can't remember the lady's name. FEAUTRED NIGHTLIFE: Dancing with the Breakaway Stars This was held in the atrium with its smallish dance floor. The judges ranged from an entertainment consultant, Rock of Ages production manager and a cast member. It was fun to watch what the selected staff and fellow cruisers would do. One of the staff members dropped a cruiser on the floor and she whacked her head. Another staff member decided to where an adult onesy of Superman for most of the competition. You never know what people will come up with so it was definitely entertaining. Keep in mind the entertainment value is what they go for, not whether you can actually dance! The night concluded with some dancing in Bliss. DJ Arias was at the helm again in Bliss and the music was so loud in there I said something to the bartender. He said he couldn't do anything so I found a striper outside and reported to him it was far too loud in there. I wear earplugs in discos because the speakers hang at my head level. With earplugs it was far too loud. It was so loud I got a headache and went for O'Sheehan's late night. DAY 7 -- Monday -- LAST SEA DAY The morning I've been waiting all cruise for. It was do or die time for the water slides. After having a stroll on the Oceanfront and surveying how much I would freeze topside we went to breakfast at the Taste/Savor complex. I changed into my swimsuit to meet up with a group who were going to do the waterslides around 10AM. After waiting sometime only two of us showed up to actually go down the slides. It was now or never!! I said if I didn't try the Free Fall (tallest slide) first I would never do it. I got down to my swim trunks and ascended the stairs with the cruise staff member who made sure my back pad was strapped on appropriately. My fear of height started as I ascended the stairs I held on for dear life to the railings. The stairs are HIGHER than the ropes course! I stepped into the pod at the top and listened to his instructions. My heart was beating a mile a minute and all of a sudden a female voice counted down saying: "3... 2.... 1...." and the floor suddenly dropped out beneath me. It was a scream heard round the ship. I didn't know what to expect and it was terrifying. I screamed so loud a small group had gathered to see what was going on! Oops! I couldn't stand up for a minute because I was shaking so much. It was CRAZY! I finally stood up and dried off and a little and then crazy as I am went up and did it again. I screamed just as loud as the first time... it's absolutely terrifying!!! It's not for the faint of heart! I concluded by doing the two twisty slides twice and the lazy blue one once. If you want a lazy experience, go the blue route. The purple "whip" slide has the most g-force as it's a tighter circle coming down. The waterslides were a nice added feature to the pool deck. My friend didn't do the Free Fall but between me and him we were the only two on the waterslides all morning and I don't know why as the water in the slides was heated! After lunch and some rest it was off to the Breakaway Theater. This was supposed to be a question and answer session with NCL's CEO and instead it became a Powerpoint presentation about the ship and the fleet and mostly a selling point for potential investors of how the company is continuing to grow and make profits. Mr. Sheehan took three questions at the end and none of them addressed the ship per se only more chairs will be added to the Waterfront. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: International Crew Talent Show I love this on every NCL ship. The crew work so hard in their regular positions so when they do have a hidden talent and perform it for us they deserve every ounce of appreciation one can give from clapping to standing ovations. It's not easy when you're not a performer to get up on the stage in the lights and perform for a room full of newly met strangers! We had the traditional Tinikling Dance from the Philippines, a performer of traditional dance from India (equipped with several costume changes and one crazy balancing act) and a modern Filipino dance troupe. There were two singers and a juggling act as well. Noticeably absent from the crew talent show is the always funny Fountains show and the amazing conclusion of the Norwegian Way (although I know it has changed recently) where the staff and crew come out and receive a standing ovation from the guests. The crew talent show was great and I highly recommend you go and show your support. Tonight was the final night so nothing special was really planned. Mom and I had a farewell dinner in the Manhattan Room while the band played on. I went to Friends of Dorothy one last time to give out contact information and say goodbyes. FEATURED NIGHTLIFE: "QUEST" Adults-Only Game Show This game show was supposed to be in Spice H2O which is an adults-only venue. The weather had gone to fog and it was very chilly outside so it was moved inside to the atrium. As a result the show was tamed down quite a bit. The cruise staff couldn't control who was in O'Sheehans up above to make sure no younger eyes were viewing the show. It wasn't nearly as fun as other ships but if you've never seen it before I will not spoil it for you. I just hope if you book Breakaway that your sailing has it in the adults-only venue so you get the full enjoyment of it! Once QUEST was finished my friend and I headed to the disco one last time to say our goodbyes to the new found cruise ship friends and to one of my favorite NCL in-house DJ's -- DJ Keith. He had some technical issues with the sound board in Bliss and eventually a technician had to come up and re-wire it to get the audio to work. The disco was dead as most had gone to bed to get up early the next morning for our sail into NYC. I lasted until just after midnight and went to O'Sheehans where the service was exceptionally slow and had one last early morning meal with a new cruise friend and then retired for what I hoped was a long sleep. DAY 8 -- Tuesday -- New York City I fell asleep for two hours before being awakened by noise outside. I got up and looked out the balcony door and saw we had just passed under the Verrazano Bridge and next up would be the Statue of Liberty. It was just after 3AM. I hadn't planned on waking up for it but since I was awakened I stayed up to watch us sail past the Statue of Liberty before falling back to sleep. I have no idea why NCL was in such a rush to get us into NYC. They couldn't have waited a little longer and made a splashier entrance into the harbor and river? The ship wasn't christened until Wednesday and no guests were coming when we got off. The ultimate publicity would have had the ship come in during the local morning newscasts where the news helicopters could have seen its arrival and broadcast it to the masses in the NYC media markets. I neglected to shut the balcony curtains and approximately two hours later I was awakened again as a light from the pier shined into our room. I was wondering why we still hadn't docked yet although we were approaching the dock. I later discovered the new gangways were not in place yet for Breakaway and they had to drop two lifeboats to get the gangways onto the ship. The new ones were supposed to be in place for our arrival. I could see them on a barge on the other side of the pier. After having breakfast in Savor one last time we went back to the room and cleared out by the asked for time of 8:30AM. We went to the Manhattan Room where the luggage tags were to be called from. They were running ahead of schedule in disembarking the passengers so we figured we'd be off the ship early. We were wrong. The gangway got congested as people didn't hear or heed their color announcements and stayed on the ship as long as they wanted and then everyone seemed to disembark at once. Customs couldn't keep up and the disembarkation was stopped several times. We finally got off the ship just shy of 11AM. It took us about 15 minutes once we were off the ship to get through customs and out to the taxi stand for a $52 dollar ride to the airport. FYI: NCL didn't offer airport transfers to JFK. SUMMING IT UP: It seems the concept of for-fee everything and sponsorships is going to the extreme here. You want something NYC oriented then prepare to pay the NYC price. This ship was supposed to take the best of EPIC and build upon it merging concepts from the Jewel-class ships. Instead this was a repeat of the EPIC by and large with ship design of 678 Ocean Place with an added Oceanfront where venues can and will make money off of al fresco dining. The smoke issue from EPIC was not resolved and smoke still seeps out from the casino to Deck 8. The cabin re-design and putting the bathroom back in one compartment is a great idea but that's where the praise ends. A funky electrical system requiring a card in the slot at all times to charge devices when not in the room was not good engineering. You pay for a balcony so you should be able to sit comfortably on it and you couldn't. The weight resistance area was cramped by two rooms dedicated to for-fee workout spaces which sat empty except in the morning hours. There is so much wasted space on this ship trying to get people to pay money for extras that it cramps other areas where things could be expanded for passenger comfort. Bliss was the ultimate disappointment, not just because one DJ thought it was fun to chase off cruisers (DJ Arias) but because the size was hideously small compared to EPICs AND you have to go through the smoke filled casino to get to it. A lot of the changes NCL has made lately are to save money and to produce money. A sponsorship for a night out -- not necessary! I pay enough for the night out and the cruise without having advertising thrown in my face to "sponsor" it. What's next? Glow Party sponsored by the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce? Besides passengers the crew make the ship and with that thanks are in order to these people: Denis Prguda (Hotel Director) for the warm welcome back onboard and for constantly checking in to see how things were going whenever he saw me. He fixed most of the items within his ability when brought to his attention. Rashida (Denis' personal assistant) who whenever she saw me made it a point to say hello and ask how we were doing. She was also the one who handled all the Vacation Hero cards everyone was submitting during the voyage. She got her first one from me! DJ Keith Armian (VJ/DJ) who was the lead DJ for all the major nightlife events on the ship. He truly understands the art of being a good DJ and plays music in line with what people wanted to hear. No line dance songs and any scratching, just great mixing which is why when I learned he'd be onboard I was super excited! Ruby Vallejos (Moderno Waitress -- Philippines) for remembering me from the Dawn cruise and giving us such great service. Roro Ningsih (Shanghai Waitress -Indonesia) for her great service once again and for being a very familiar face on the ship. She was so close to Bliss that I got to see her multiple times throughout the voyage! Emerson (Bartender -- Shakers and early in the trip Bliss) was a nice fellow and after the first order remembered my drink which was quite impressive. Allan (Bartender -- Bliss) took over where Emerson left off earlier in the trip and became my bartender during the rest of the sailing in there. Both were great gentlemen working fast and efficiently to get me my drink order and being friendly when Bliss was slow. The whole bar staff and waitresses of Bliss were friendly and seemed to be having a great time! I felt bad for them on some nights when DJ Arias drove people away as they were not making any tips/wages. The wait staff who served us the entire voyage was all very friendly as well. Overall, the Norwegian Breakaway for all the years of hype and being one of the first to book her on the first day she went on sale was a bit disappointing to me -- especially for the price paid. Her staterooms and public re-design didn't wow me but rather in some ways shocked me. I love the concept of Freestyle Cruising but Norwegian Breakaway doesn't seem to be the ship for my mom and I'm in the middle of the road about her. A return to the Jewel, Dawn and Spirit-class is in order. I still like Norwegian Cruise Line and do have future cruise rewards to use with them but now don't know what to do as mom and I were planning a January 2014 voyage on Breakaway and we're now exploring other options within NCL and on other cruise lines. Read Less
Norwegian Breakaway Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 5.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 5.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 2.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 3.0 3.3

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