We went on Breakaway in December (and Escape is an updated sister ship - at least that what they say). We cruised on Jewel, Star, and Dawn and Breakaway was my least favorite ship. One of the reasons was exactly what Gracelyn mentioned - no places to 'hang out". Especially if the cruise is out of NY during cold months you really need some 'hang out' space as outside was not an option in December (not to mention the ice blizzard storm we were in - but that's besides the point).
So that's why we're splurging on the Thermal Spa - to have quiet place. I vowed not to do this type of ships again LOL but 1) any cruise is better than no cruise 2) the price was too good to pass..
I also absolutely HATED the buffet. Not even the food (nothing to brag about - hardly any salad bar for example) but the layout was awful. People cutting lines - no direction as to which way the lines are going. Awful.
Many people were hanging out around Cagneys during the day when they were closed - there were many chairs there. The library was always packed with people...