Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by TrishaAH
- Sail Date: August 2019
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony Stateroom
The ship only seems a little crowded at initial sea day. Pool deck seats in the shade are hard to come by if you are trying to sit with groups of four or more. I found the ladies public restrooms to be a little deprived of cleanliness and fresh smell. I'm sure the next group of people will have a different experience as I know a deep cleaning was getting done after our disembarkation due to Hurricane Dorian. All other areas seemed to be well kept with over 4,000 people on board not cleaning up after themselves.
We stayed in stateroom 8766, which was the floor with restaurants, shopping and bars. I was concerned about the smoking, noise level and traffic on these floors, but the noise and smoking was not a real issue and I'm a very light sleeper. Only when you got close to large Chandelier did smoking becoming a factor. The only thing was the stateroom doors slam very hard. I always tried to manually close the door to be courteous to my neighbors, but not everyone does that. The walls between staterooms are also very thin as you can hear some extracurricular activities going on...Our stateroom attendant (Michael) was fantastic. He kept our room clean and was always around if we needed him. The room was spacious for two and had a good amount of storage for clothing with extra storage in footrest. I wish the balcony area was a little bit deeper, but still ok. Shower was bigger than ones on other cruise lines. The bathroom also had shelving and multiple hooks for hanging items. There is a easy to use safe in closet and side reading lights beside bed with little tables on each side.
In order for the power and lights to come on in the room you need to put any type of card in the slot right by your door entrance along the wall. NCL would like you to believe that only the cruise card will power the room, but any card will keep the lights on. Please note that Stateroom Attendant is required to remove it if you are not in your room (no biggie just don't expect anything to be charged when you come back if that was your intention when leaving the room). You will have to go back and put card back in after Stateroom Attendant is finished cleaning up.
I loved The Martini, Maltings and Atrium bars. Most of the Bartenders were really friendly and made great drinks. They are on their feet the majority of day and night and do it with a smile. So tip them out (CASH ONLY as they don't get tips written in on receipts). Please remember to have a little patience when it's busy. Also, on day one of cruise they close down all bars around 30 minutes before ship drill.
Things to note:
Wear swimsuit under your clothes and use a back bag/beach bag to pack a change of clothes, medication, electronics, sunglasses, chargers and any other personal items you need, as you won't have immediate access to your luggage or stateroom.
The Crew Members are the ones who drive NCL business. They are the ones that keep customers coming back. I notice they work a great deal of hours throughout the cruise. However, I'm not sure that their work discipline is rewarded, other than receiving the comment cards we write up. I would recommend including perks based on accolades provided via customer comment cards. Such rewards should include free wi-fi minutes, extra hours off, special request consideration, extra leave for special events (i.e. weddings, death, immediate family birthday, graduation, etc...).
Honduras was a nice spot to venture out. Our driver Cruz Argentina gave us this information as we took a taxi ride over to West Bay, Roatan Islands. The taxi ride was $20 per person and an additional $15 to get a lounge chair with umbrella. The beach was nice and the bathrooms were clean. You could order food & drinks from the Argentina Bar. Your driver waits for you and takes you back to port when you are ready. I would suggest that you offer your driver a tip or food & drink as well. Our driver said that Honduras schools always appreciates if tourist brings pencils/pens for students on the Islands. There is always a need for these school items.
Belize is NCL's private island with shops. They also had zip lining & wildlife sanctuary you could walk through. I could've passed on this stop. The only reason to get off is to shop for souvenirs (the t-shirts were low quality there). Because of light winds we were not allowed to put up umbrellas and shaded spots were very limited. Pretty much every seat was taken. So finding a spot out there for even two people seating together was almost impossible. Also wanted to get my passport stamped and couldn't get it done here, as the immigration person was not obligated to be there :-(
Costa Maya was a nice Island. As soon as you get off the Island there's a pool, music, lounge chairs and plenty of shopping. I believe you can swim with dolphins right there. It was crowded by the pool by the time we got off the ship, so we took a $8 taxi cab ride (around 8 minutes) over to 40 Canones and paid a minimum $20 drink/food order per person for access to beach side lounge chair with shade for a few hours.
Cozumel was very hot this time of year. There is an open mall as soon as you get off the ship. You have to walk about five blocks to the right of mall to find information stand, where you can get your passport stamped (it's right by a 7-eleven). There are plenty of restaurants, cigar, liquor and souvenir shops to explore. Stay hydrated if you plan on walking around here. I think I got heat stroke from walking around Cozumel.
Lastly, our ship was at sea while Hurricane Dorian was brewing. The communication during this time was not great. We found out when we were in Costa Maya that the Captain was in communication with multiple areas to figure out our ships next course of action. It seemed that skipping the final stop in Cozumel was most logical. However, we continued on to Cozumel. The Captain was waiting for further information regarding heading back to Port of Miami. On Friday August 30th before disembarkation in Cozumel, the Captain advised us to be back on ship no later than 4am August 31st. At this point people were leaving with suitcases trying to get flights out of Cancun, Mexico. At around 1pm on August 30th the Captain said that we received the all clear to head back to the Port of Miami and we were just waiting for those who were still not on board to head out. Unfortunately, many people were under the impression we didn't have to be back to the ship until 4am the next morning. Therefore, we had to wait for the remaining people that did not show back on ship until around 11pm. At that time the Captain was hauling towards Port of Miami. The next communication was when we were around Marathon, FL to say that there was a tropical storm warning in Florida and the Port of Miami would be closing at 10pm. This means we would not make it to Port of Miami in time. We missed our window to get back on dry land.
Chaos ensued and the deck 6 was filled with pissed off people. Although the communication was slow and disorganized, ultimately NCL did a great job of getting people home. Any one who had booked/traveled by plane through NCL, booked air through 3rd party or drove to port fill out forms. This was to make arrangements for everyone to get back to their final destination. People who booked air travel through NCL was automatically put on the next available flights home, 3rd party bookings had to make their own arrangements and were offered a $300 credit per person (they needed to save receipts and submit for reimbursement). People who drove and parked in Miami got on chartered flights back to Miami, where they were met by buses to the Port of Miami. Anyone who used an outside park-n-ride was not able to get onto those chartered buses as the Port of Miami was not officially opened and was only excepting the chartered buses. Therefore, we had to call an Uber to get back to parking garage we used. All-in-all I think NCL really stepped up and got things taken care of. I believe that the people who are complaining were those that tried to take a proactive approach and make arrangements before seeing what NCL was going to offer. They came out of pocket because they didn't wait for instructions. Every change they made on flights cost them money that they couldn't get back for the changes they made. This was all based on the announcements made by the Captain. However, if they would have waited to find out how NCL was going to rectify the situation, they wouldn't have been out of some much money.
Ultimately, we got an extra two days of vacation and made it back home safely. I would cruise with NCL again.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
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