First time cruiser on Norwegian. Have been on RCL and CCL previously. I am a 39 year old married female and traveled with my 31 year old married female friend. Girls trip. This is a detailed review and the first I’ve done. We cruised the Norwegian Breakaway Feb 1-8 out of Port Canaveral. I do cruise again Feb 29-March 7 on the Carnival Breeze so will be able to do a good comparison I suppose after I’m back. I did do this review with pictures but had technical difficulties so they are not included unfortunately.
The itinerary for this cruise was Great Stirrup Cay, Ocho Rios, Georgetown and Cozumel. We purchased priority access when the cost was still $99 for 7 days. Split between us was $50 each so not too bad. Priority Access included priority embarkation, priority tendering, priority debarkation, $50 spa credit each for port days, free hot breakfast items (normally a $7.95 service fee) and some type of appetizers delivered to your room on day 2 of the cruise. This cruise had two tender ports and we also had a 11am flight out of MCO on debarkation day so thought it might be helpful. We also bid on a room upgrade from balcony to spa balcony. We bid the min bid of $135 CAD and this was accepted about a week before our cruise. We moved room locations from 10th floor midship to 14th floor forward. Was not thrilled to be moving forward from midship but it ended up being no annoyance at all. It was actually not that far from the stairs and with the layout of this ship it was fine. This room change also included access to the Thermal Spa.
Flew into Orlando International 2 days before the cruise from Saint John, NB Canada. Coming from Canada you just never know what the weather will be like this time of year so we gave ourselves some room for flight delays, etc. Luckily the weather cooperated and we had no travel interruptions. We stayed at the La Quinta Inn next to the Cocoa Beach pier. Used Lyft from airport to hotel. The cost was $54.53 (48.42 miles). This cost covers up to 4 people. If you have never used Lyft or Uber, it is simple and I recommend you give it a try if you are one of the diehard shuttle users, it will save you time and possibly some money. I will explain how it works for the people who still don’t understand how to use ride apps: After you get your bags from baggage claim and head out of the airport where you would meet the shuttles or cabs, there is a sign that’s hung near one of the pillars that says Ride App passengers. This is where your Lyft or Uber driver will meet you. Just walk to this sign and open the app. Put in the address you want to go (airport will already be your starting destination, it will auto update). It will give you a cost. If you agree, click confirm then it will tell you the license plate of the car and a description of it plus the name and picture of the driver. It will also tell you where to meet the driver and approximate time till arrival. You will already be standing where they will tell you to meet them (at the ride app passenger sign). I’ve never waited any longer than 5 min at MCO for my driver so I never request the ride until I’m already out of the airport. Then you can track the car to your location on the map that’s shown in the app. We waited 2 min for our Lyft driver to come around the corner and pick us up. Also, there is no money exchanged as it is already done when you clicked confirm. Ride was quick and uneventful, took 45 minutes approximately. Once we arrived at the hotel, we dropped our bags and went over to the Cocoa beach pier for lunch/ drinks. This place is ok but not a place I would eat at for dinner. Great for a quick lunch and people watching. There is a convenience store located there as well so after lunch we stopped in and grabbed some beer and went back to the hotel. Hotel is right on the beach and was a great location. It was adequate for us with a nice pool area and bar. For dinner that night we went to a Mexican restaurant down the street called Salsas. Food was great and lucky for us they had $2 house margaritas on special 😊
The next day we went to the beach then to the Salt Sanctuary close by. It’s a therapeutic salt room. If you’ve never been to one I recommend, very relaxing. It was $25 for 1 hour. After that we walked to In Vogue spa and got pedicures. That night we used Lyft to go to dinner at Siam Orchid, it is a nice Thai restaurant. It cost $8.54 and was 2.8 miles away from the hotel. After dinner we went to Gregory’s upstairs comedy club which was across the street from Siam Orchid. The comedy club was $18 and was worth every penny. The headliner was one of the funniest comedians I’ve ever seen. There were 2 comedians plus the host and were all really good. I recommend this place if you find yourself looking for something to do after dinner the night before a cruise. It started at 8:30pm and was over about 10:45pm. After the show we took a Lyft back to hotel for cost of $8.87.
We arrived at the port around 10:30am via Lyft. Cost was $11.99 and was 5.24 miles away from hotel. Dropped our bags with a porter and proceeded to the escalator to get into the terminal. There was a tent set up at the bottom of the escalator/stairs and you were directed to stop there first. At the tent they gave you a pencil and a questionnaire. Questionnaire was yes or no questions related to the Corona Virus and had to do with visitation to China in the last 14 days or fever, flu like symptoms, or if you were a Chinese citizen, etc. We answered no to all questions and were allowed to pass and enter the terminal. Once inside we proceeded through x-ray and metal detectors. Then we easily found the priority access line and walked right up to an agent. He asked us a series of questions similar to the questionnaire and looked at every page of our passport for a stamp from China. After he was satisfied, he took our pictures and we got our cards and were on our way to the priority waiting area. We never went to that area but did see it (it was nice!) as they were already boarding the ship. This was about 10:45am. So we walked straight on and went to one of the self-serve screens by the elevator to book the shows you could not book online. Except they were not working correctly so an employee stationed by the elevators directed us to the box office to book the entertainment. Took 5 minutes to complete. Apparently, it was worth the effort as everything was sold out and on standby all week which I gather is normal. After that we went up to find the Spice H20 area to look around then we went to the main pool area, found a couple of seats at the bar it was raining and had drinks with a fellow Canadian from Ontario who was traveling solo.
We stayed there until the rooms opened up around 1:30ish. When we got to our room they were delivering our luggage. It all came together. We unpacked and relaxed until the muster drill. After muster we walked around a bit and visited the spa. They showed us around and gave us a tour of the thermal spa. Before leaving we asked them to give us the run down on the priority access $50 off port day deal. They gave us the menu and showed us which services this could be used for. It is for signature services and there is a symbol beside each service that is a signature service on the menu. We never did use it. Come to find out there is much better deals to be had throughout the week. If you are seriously looking to book the spa wait until they post the deals as they are much better than going off the menu pricing plus the $50 off discount. After the tour we went back to our room to get ready for dinner. We had a 7pm reservation at Teppanyaki. We enjoyed it. It was great for the first night as it was lively, everyone is excited to be starting their vacation and the atmosphere is fun. Food was your average teppanyaki fare which I like. After dinner we had some drinks and went to the Welcome Aboard show in the Theatre. After that we went to Sid Norman’s. Sid’s was awesome! It’s a shame that the venue is so small. It was standing room only. We did try a few other times to be early enough to get a seat but we were not successful. This place fills up early I mean really early. We watched the entire set that night then went to bed.
Day 2: Great Stirrup Cay
We had ordered room service that was delivered to our room around 7am as we wanted to be on the first tender of the day. We ordered Omelets and French Toast. They were really good and was included with priority access. Unfortunately, it was very windy and we were not able to tender in so this day turned into the first Sea Day. After breakfast, we headed to the thermal spa where we lounged and relaxed until almost noon. This place is awesome. From there we went to Spice H20 and lounged some more. Spice H20 is too small in my opinion for the number of adults that want to be in there, and I wish the adult pool and hot tubs were in the adult only area. The layout of this ship does not allow for that but imo it would be better if it was all together or close together somehow. Had lunch in the Garden Café. Late afternoon we went back to our room showered and got ready for our 6:30pm reservation at Moderno. Had a few drinks in the atrium before having dinner. The struggle is real with seating in this area, never enough. I read many reviews on the food in Moderno mostly not good. I really wanted to try a Brazilian steak house though as I have never been to one so I booked it anyways. Most of the reviews had to do with the meat being too rare and having to wait along time to get the whole variety or not getting the whole variety at all and service being super slow. I am happy to report I did not experience any of these things. The meat was great, not over done and not rare. I received some of every kind quickly. I am a medium well kind of person and some were a little red for my preference but I had no trouble eating any of them. The salad bar was amazing. I really liked the experience and would do a Brazilian steakhouse again. We were in and out in about an hour and tried everything they had to offer. After dinner we went to the dueling pianos show which I enjoyed and had drinks around the ship partaking in the activities/entertainment that was going on until very late.
Day 3: Sea Day
We ordered room service again that was delivered at 9:30am, more Omelets/hash browns, French toast and lots of coffee. Really enjoyed the breakfast room service. I’m not a quick to rise person. Up to the thermal spa we went again. Stayed there until noon. We had lunch in Garden Café then went hunting for a lounger in the sun. After much searching we found a couple in the sun near the back corner in the Spice H20 area. We had drinks, read and dozed until around 5pm then went back to the room to shower and get ready for dinner. We had dinner this night in Savor. Food and service was great. After dinner we had drinks and watched some entertainment in the atrium. Then we went to the deck party at Spice H20. It was a blast! After the deck party we went to O’Sheehans for nachos, not good people! Not a fan of that cheese sauce. It was cold too.
Day 4: Ocho Rios
We ordered rooms service again that we had delivered at 8am as we were planning on getting off the ship and walking around the port area and do some shopping. Our balcony was on the docked side of the ship which happened to be starboard. We both looked outside and thought what holy hell is this? It looked like an industrial plant of some sort. All we could see beyond this from our balcony was the entrance to the area and a road which appeared to have no sidewalk. It was also pouring rain outside. This is not like any other ports I had been to where you get off and there is shopping areas, a nice port etc. I was very confused as I had researched that this area did have port shopping. Come to find out we were docked at a different port than I had researched. Because of my poor planning and not knowing that it was just a quick walk around the corner we did not get off. We both have had previous bad experiences with the heckling to buy in Jamaica (they take it up a whole other notch here) and when we looked and saw that we would be walking on the road by ourselves not inside of a port area both of us were saying nope not doing that. Had we actually investigated by going to view from other areas on the ship we would have saw it was just a quick walk around the corner and would have gone but by the time we noticed that we were not going to bother. So we yet again when to the thermal spa. We followed our routine staying until noon heading to the garden café. By noon the rain had died off and we headed to the pool deck for some sun seeking. We found loungers on the upper deck by the adult pool. This area is weird, most all the loungers by the pool are covered and not in the sun. We had drinks and stayed until 5pm or so then we headed down to get ready for our 6:30pm dinner reservation at Le Bistro. This was BY FAR the best meal of the cruise. I mean I was so impressed that I think I am now ruined for eating steak in restaurants. Nothing will ever compare I don’t think. I had the mushroom soup to start, amazing. Then I had the tenderloin as the main. It was the best steak I’ve ever eaten. Until this day I always though melt in your mouth was a figure of speech. I could cut it with my fork and it literally melted in my mouth. It was so so good. For dessert I had the Crème Brule and it was again amazing. One small critique is this was probably the only dessert that I was wowed by all week. I feel that NCL could really step up their dessert game. I am comparing to RCL and CCL. After dinner we watched whatever was going on in the atrium. I believe it was the love and marriage show. It was good, after we had more drinks and went to different bars. Then we saw the comedians late show. It was funny. After we went to the casino. We both put $20 dollars in the slots. I lost mine almost immediately but my friend came ahead $120 off that one slot. She cashed out and by this time it was fairly late so off to bed we went.
Day 5: Georgetown
Today we decided to get up at 6:45am and do breakfast in the main dining room. It was really good and service was great. We had priority access and the night before there was a letter delivered to our stateroom with instructions on where to meet for tendering. We were to meet at 8am at the Spiegel tent. After breakfast and exactly 8am we went there and saw a sign for priority access and a roped off area. Upon showing up we were greeted by a hostess who promptly opened the rope for us and told us to go on down. We walked down the roped off set of stairs right onto the tender. It was great. Not long after we were on shore. Thinking that was around 8:15am? Once on shore we walked about 1.5 miles to Smith’s Cove. It is in the opposite direction of 7-mile beach and we definitely wanted to avoid there with 5 ships in port. We passed 4 locals on our walk who kind of figured we were heading to Smith’s Cove and all said you are heading to the right place as it will be over crowed and packed at 7-mile beach today. Smith’s Cove is known for good on shore snorkeling so that is what our primary reason for the visit was. It is a nice beach with bathrooms, change rooms, showers and picnic tables. There was a hot dog food truck and an ice cream truck stationed at the entrance if you got hungry. We stayed there from probably 8:45 to 11:30. Very few people there, most were on land-based vacations and a few other cruise passengers came later on as well. Unfortunately, we were not able to snorkel. People did but because of the windy conditions and not being familiar with my surroundings we chose to just swim/wade around. On the walk back we stopped at My Bar at Sunset House on the recommendation from someone from Cruise Critic. What an awesome place, we spent a couple of hours there. It was not busy at all, for some reason cruise ship passengers don’t walk down this way. It’s really close to the port too. Anyhow, it is an open-air bar right on the water’s edge. I believe they have a diving outfit stationed in the same area and we watched boats come in and out, picking up and dropping off divers. Great people watching and the food was good too. After we walked back to the port, stopping into the little shops along the way then we headed back to the tender. I love that NCL has towel attendants stationed on the pier to take your used towels and issue you new ones. GREAT IDEA. No wait for a tender and back on the boat we went straight to the pool deck, we never even stopped into our room. We were so hot, it was 30 + degrees C outside and we wanted to get into the pool to cool off. So we found loungers in the sun again on the upper deck looking straight onto the pool deck stage. We had a very attentive drink server who kept the drinks flowing pretty quickly that combined with the band playing great music along with the hilarious pool games going on meant time jumped by 4 hours, just like that…lol So needless to stay, our evening plans were quickly coming to an end. We had planned to have dinner in the Manhattan room along with seeing Six and none of those things happened. We never did have dinner that night, oh well it was great fun! We left our room at 7am and returned for the first time sometime around 9pm and went straight to bed.
Day 6: Cozumel
Had breakfast delivered around 8:30am and luckily for us we did not dock till 10am. We had more than enough sleep…lol. We got off the ship as soon as it was cleared and grabbed a cab that took us to Mr. Sancho’s. Taxi fare was $18 for up to 4 people. The ride was 11 miles away from the dock. Mr. Sancho’s is an all-inclusive day resort and is very popular among cruise passengers. Unfortunately, is was extremely windy this day and the conditions for swimming in the ocean were not ideal. I did give it a go and had sand where sand should not be 😊. Most people hung out at the pool area. I probably would not go here again, I liked it but would try somewhere else next time. Drinks and food were ok. Typical resort food. We stayed until about 4pm and grabbed a cab back. Cabs are lined up all the way out the road to take passengers back so if you do go, do not worry about finding a ride back there will be one for sure. We browsed the shops on the way back to the ship. Once back on board, I got into the shower to get all the sand off me! Then just hung out on the balcony reading until it was time to leave for dinner. We ate in Taste around 6:30pm. Food and service was good. After we watched the flags of the world show in the atrium and went to a music trivia in Sid Normans. We then had drinks around the ship until it was time to go to the glow party in Spice H20. Was a great time! I recommend going. We stayed there until they were kicking us out of the area to clean up. We went to the casino afterwards for a bit then to bed.
Day 6: Sea Day
Today we slept in until about 9am. It was again very windy and also raining today. We woke to an announcement being made that some of the outside decks which included the pool decks and the waterfront were closed. I knew that with this being a sea day, things were going to get crowded. There were some activities going on in the atrium a little later on that we wanted to see. Seating is an issue in this area on a good day so we decided to eat breakfast in O’Sheehans so that we could scope out seating on this level to view the atrium shows. There is an area near O’Sheehans that you can look down onto the atrium so we were hoping to snag seats there. Our only other experience with O’Sheehans was a late-night Nacho snack that neither of us likedbut we were willing to give it another shot as breakfast is pretty standard fare. What I was not expecting was super slow service and missing items. We waited too long for a menu, too long for our drinks and too long for our food. Then too long for the missing parts of it. The food again was not very good and was cold. I had the corned beef hash and I did not like it. Cest la vie , no biggie. I think they were slammed with everyone stuck inside on a sea day. I did feel bad for the wait staff. It seems to me it the training ground for new waitstaff, and I’m sure they were very overwhelmed. After we ate we scoped out two seats that just came available that looked down onto the atrium. Score. This was about 11:15am. Here we stayed parked in these seats for a couple hours, not daring to move. The people hovering to snag a seat was humorous. They need more seating in the area or they need to hold these shows somewhere else. While here we took turns going to the bar at O’Sheehans for beers and mimosas. We participated in a science trivia, a tv trivia, watched deal or no deal, watched some dancing then finally watched the cruise next presentation. All while chatting with the people around us. Everyone was very friendly, great vibe on this last sea day. We stayed here until it was time for the last day BINGO in the theatre. It was packed and the line was very long to purchase your cards again because everyone was inside due to the weather, felt bad for the staff. We never won anything besides $5 on one of the pull tabs. You collect your winnings at the casino. After BINGO we went and played a bit of bowling in O’Sheehans. Then went to the spa for a little relaxing then went to the room to get ready for our 6:30pm reservation at La Cuncia. Meal was amazing. Afterward we purchased cruise next certificates and walked around the on board shops. From there we went to Burn the Floor, it was a good show. We had a few more drinks around the ship then headed to bed.
Day 7: Debarkation Day
Got up at 5:45am, packed our things and got dressed. We again had priority access and the night before again a letter was delivered to our stateroom with instructions on where to meet for priority disembarkation. It was Spiegel tent again at 7:30am for self assist, this seemed late to me from previous experiences. They also delivered priority luggage tags to us incase we wanted to use them but we travel light with one carry one each so no problem with just carrying off the luggage ourselves. We went to Spiegel tent about 7am. No one was there. No sign for priority and no hostess, like before. So I asked an employee standing by the elevators and he called someone who told him that we are to meet in the conference room around the corner. We went there and waited and waited…. On all other cruises I’ve been on they have started the self-assist disembarkation by now and I wondered what the hold up was. Come to find out they were holding to allow for a medical evacuation to take place before releasing passengers. Around 7:45am, a person came and guided us though a roped off set of stairs up one flight and to an exit off the ship. No line at all. We walked up to a booth scanned our card then moved along and showed our passport to a customs agent that was stationed on the ship. He verified our identity to our picture on our passport and told us to have a nice day, no questions at all. We walked off the ship and out of the terminal not stopping again until we got to the sidewalk. Maybe 10 minutes in all. On our exit route we did see that there was a long line of people waiting to disembark self-assist, it wrapped from one end of the ship to the other but we were able to by pass them completely. I believe the line was so long as they were slightly delayed in starting disembarkation. This was the first time we did not have to clear customs in the terminal. It was so much faster. I really like the new way. Once on the sidewalk we were going to get a Lyft but there were shuttles ready to go so we just jumped in one that was going to the airport. $15 each cash. We arrived at the airport 45 minutes later. On the shuttle ride to the airport, we checked in for our 11am flight and downloaded our boarding passes. When we got to the airport we headed straight for the security line. Took about 20 minutes or so then we went to outback steakhouse restaurant in our terminal for some breakfast beers and a bite to eat as we still had lots of time before our flight. We hung out at the bar there until boarding time. We flew Air Canada into Halifax NS. No flight delays. We had an 1 ½ layover in Halifax before our connection to Saint John. Halifax airport is a small airport so that layover is totally fine as it took 10 min to clear customs and another 10 min to go through security again. Our flight to Saint John went on time and I was home on my couch before dark. Anyone who fly’s east coast Canada knows how rare that is in February!
I really enjoyed this cruise. I thought the on-board entertainment was next level compared to the two other lines I’ve sailed with. All the food and service were great all week long. Step up your dessert game though NCL. Ship was always clean and the staff always smiling. I bought cruise next certificates so I will be sailing NCL again for sure now. Doubtful on the breakaway again though. I honestly did not like the layout of the pool deck and spice H20 area. Not a lot of room in either and with the main pool deck loungers always being under a roof and mainly out of the sun was not ideal for me. Not enough seating in some of the entertainment venues around the ship. Not in the atrium, headliners or sid normans. Not a deal breaker in any way but would look at different ships with a different layout next time probably. I do love how you don’t have to sign for drinks with the drink package and that you can get two at a time unlike other lines. But what is up with the price of water and not being able to get a bottle with the drink package? I mean, it was not a huge deal as I just filled water bottles up in the room bathroom sink but with how everything is so top notch I just found it weird that something as simple as a bottle of water was so over priced and not available with the drink package yet I could go get two $15 dollar glasses of wine without the bat of an eye. Mandarian Spa was awesome. Love the loungers where you could relax after a dip in the pool or after coming out of the steam room. We both spent a lot of time in there and would get spa passes again no question. We both got the unlimited social media wifi and it was the best ship wifi experience I’ve ever had. It was perfect all week long. We never saw our room attendant once the whole trip. This is a first for me. It was fine just different. I will try to answer any questions you may have.