We just got home yesterday from our week long Western Caribbean cruise on the Breakaway! My family of four (kids are 11 and 13) had a fantastic time on our third NCL cruise. I will try to go through our opinions and experiences on everything below. Feel free to ask any questions!
Embarkation - Could not have been easier or faster! We parked at the port at 10:45 and were on the boat by 11:15. The ship had just moved from New Orleans to Miami with no passengers so our staterooms were ready as we walked on. My husband and kids dropped off our carry on bags and went to play ping pong while I booked our comedy show reservations at the box office. Then we all met up at the pool bar for the first drink and then off to the buffet for lunch. Our suitcases were waiting for us in the hallway by the time we were done eating.
Dining - We had a three meal dining plan as a perk from our booking and ate at Cagney's, Moderno and Teppanyaki. Our favorite, hands down, was Cagney's. My 13 year old son said it was far and away his favorite meal of the trip. The crab cake appetizer was delicious, all of our steaks were cooked perfectly and the sides were plentiful and fantastic. We were able to eat outside on the Waterfront which was just icing on the (seven layer) cake for the night! A very close second for us was Teppanyaki. The show put on by the chef was great and we all left completely stuffed. This was our first time at Morderno and it was just ok for us. We probably would not choose to go there again. We ate all of our other dinners in the main dining room and the meals were fine. Nothing awful, but nothing really spectacular either. The only really awful meal we had was the one breakfast we ate in the main dining room. The service was so slow and all four meals came out wrong. After that, we ate breakfast in the buffet each morning. It is all the same stuff as the dining room, just in a crazier atmosphere, but at least everyone got what they wanted. We ate some snacks at O'Sheehans twice and it was fine. We also sat at the bar in Margaritaville one day and had nachos. You can pay a la carte at the bar for three or four different appetizers.
Drinking - We also had the beverage package and had no problems at all. I had been reading a lot of complaints about long lines at the bars, but did not find this to be the case at all. Did I wait a little longer at the pool bar at 2:00 in the afternoon on a sea day? Yes, of course! But I also did not have to wait at all if I walked an extra few feet to the bar in Margaritaville - which is included with the package and where the margaritas were better anyway!
Activities - The kids loved the water slides - although the two where the floor drops out from underneath you were not open as long or as frequently as the others. The ropes course and rock wall were a big hit also. The kids liked hanging out in O'Sheehans and playing pool or darts, too. The pools, as usual, are small and very crowded and the kids were told by crew members that they could only use the small pool by the kids aqua park. (Although we never went to Spice H2O, I had heard that the pool there was out of service and so they made the main pool on the pool deck adults only.) My husband and I spent a little time in the casino and actually came out about $30 ahead - a win for us! Haha! We mostly played Blackjack and Roulette. My daughter and I tried to do the Canvas By U class, but it sold out very quickly the two times it was offered and we were never able to get a seat. Neither kid went to the Kids Club or Teen Lounge at all - it's just not there thing.
Entertainment - The magician on the ship was fantastic! He is a must see! Not only was the magic part entertaining, but we found him to be funnier than some of the comedians! There were three comedians on the ship and they were all just so so. We enjoyed the silly games played in the Atrium - especially the Dance Battle. If you only see one Atrium show, that should be the one you choose! We watched Deal or No Deal twice but at $25 a pop, we did not buy a card. People complain a lot about there not being enough seats in the Atrium, but between that and the bar at O'Sheehans overlooking the Atrium area, we were always able to find a seat. There were plenty of musicians everywhere and they were all good. Nobody really sticks out as a must see. We did not see Rock of Ages or the Cirque show on this trip.
Ports - We stopped at Roatan, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya and Cozumel. Roatan was our least favorite port. It was small and dirty and there was a lot of construction going on. We took an excursion to Maya Key and the beach there reminded me of the beaches on Long Island where I grew up - not at all the type of water that you usually picture for the Caribbean. At Harvest Caye, we hung out at the beach, swam in the pool and rented paddle boards. It was a lovely, relaxing day. Costa Maya was our favorite. We went to the Lost Maya Kingdom water park and it was fantastic. Great water slides that all began in a building (which meant lots of shade for our two days of beach in a row sunburned bodies) and an elevator to bring you up to the slides. There were also three different zip line trails (with several tracks on each) which were all fabulous, too! None of us have ever been ziplining before and it was a great first experience. In Cozumel, we swam with stingrays, snorkeled and then hung out at Senor Frogs at the port - another fun day.
Disembarkation - We carried our own luggage off the ship. Again, it could not have been easier. We left our stateroom around 7:45 and were back at the car around 8:30.
Overall, we had a fabulous vacation! We will definitely be back on NCL again in the future and would definitely sail on the Breakaway again if the itinerary was different. Our last two cruises have both been Western Caribbean, so we will probably look at something for the Eastern side next time.