Think I picked up something on the ship the last day. Started to feel awful on the flight home. Just now coming up for air. Here's some thoughts on the recent 5 day Breakaway Cruise out of Port of Miami (Harvest Caye, Costa Maya and two sea days).
Arrived at the port around 10:30am and got boarding group 1. Positioned myself to wait by the escalator up to the gangway. (Vibe runners know where this is going.) There were around 30 people in the Priority Area that they boarded at 11:30am. I was on the ship shortly after this and had a Vibe pass in hand 10 min later. Passes were sold at Headliners. Cost $189 for five days. I hesitated on buying one due to the cost but never regretted it once I saw the pool deck on the first day. Yikes! I've been on over 25 cruises and have never seen where there wasn't an obvious deck chair available on any of the open pool decks or the free area across from Vibe. Several people in Vibe were in boarding group 5 and heard there were still passes left but also heard it sold out. Some people showed up the first day never to be seen again. Hector tends bar in Vibe and makes a mean Moscow Mule. We had a pretty sedate group up there this cruise. It was nice. No loud drunks or conversation-hogging jerks. Hate the way the cabanas block the view of the ocean, though. Only one was rented.
Didn't want to deal with the hoards at the buffet so went to one of the main dining rooms for lunch. They sat me by a window and I had what turned out to be the best meal of the cruise. Sorry, no food porn pictures. Had chicken nachos, fish and chips and peanut butter cheesecake. Healthy, no? Not sure how to make a peanut butter cheesecake tasteless but they were remarkably successful. What is it with cruise lines making desserts that look good but end up being disappointing? I think going to the dining room for embarkation lunch is going to be my new tradition. No more schlepping a carry on around the buffet searching for someplace to sit. Plus, they also promptly delivered the first of too many to count Moscow Mules.
Had solo cabin 11551, a connecting cabin. You could definitely hear noise from the cabin next door, especially the toilet flushing. Glad the occupant didn't have a five minute bladder during the night. The cabin did come with a hair dryer and safe. I requested ice during the cruise and got a full bucket twice a day. There's more places to store things than things than one person would need. There's three large containers under the bed for storage plus still enough room to store a suitcase. Two closets for hanging clothes and several shelves. I never felt claustrophobic but I worked in a darkroom for many years so I'm not a good judge. The thermostat worked great. Wish they had made the beds smaller so you could fit a small chair in there. My only complaint? Some genius decided to put blue lights by the magazine holder over the head of the bed. They don't turn off and shine down directly on your face when you lie down. Sheesh, what a spoiled princess. Jeeves, be a good man and shield my eyes so I can get some rest.
Can't speak to the solo get togethers as I never went. Since Vibe passes cost so much, I decided to get my money's worth and spent most of my time up there. I'm a loner and have no interest in group dinners but noted there were sign up sheets every night with plenty of names so it looks like things set up by the solo coordinator were well attended. The lounge always had water and coffee outside of the cocktail hour. There was OJ and still mostly frozen pastries in the morning.
I booked this cruise three weeks prior to sailing when the solo cabins dropped to $375. The plan was to just drink, read, drink, relax, drink and eat. Mission accomplished. Stayed on the ship at Harvest Caye. Maya Chan was sold out so I just strolled around the shops at the port area. The vendors weren't pushy at all.
My one complaint about this cruise was the buffet. OK, I take that back. I had two complaints. Second was they were only making a feeble attempt to get people to sanitize their hands on entry. Almost every time I was up there, only one line was open, causing long lines and congested traffic flow. I don't like going to the main dining room because the meal takes too long so I was up at the buffet a lot. Except for breakfast, it was consistently bad. I love the Mueslix bar and started to wish they had it out at lunch, too, just so I could find something I like. Food was frequently not kept at the proper temperature and pretty much the same choices each day. I ended up going to Shanghai Noodle twice which is the only reason I didn't lose weight. Not sure if this was a Breakaway thing or if NCL is cheaping out on the buffet food. The positives were, compared to Royal Caribbean, much easier to get a drink or soda at the buffet and the soft serve ice cream tasted like real ice cream, not frozen yogurt.
Other random thoughts. The ship itself was very clean and I liked the layout. The Waterfront? Enough said. Syd Norman's Pour House had good music. The band playing by the pool was tasty. I'd rather hear a Caribbean band than a DJ any day. I only remember their name started with Native. Really missed having a District Brew House.
Back to my sick bed. Hope this can be of help to someone.