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!!! BREAKAWAY !!! To Bermuda ^_^ Our Ultimate Review and Complete Pictorial Guide!

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Synopsis

 

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter :)

I encourage you to ask questions to trigger my memory.

Also if you sailed in this voyage and have something to add, please do so =).

This will be my first time reviewing a brand new ship!

I have a ton of information that I would like to share with you all!

Including: Dailies, Documents, Menus, Wine/Drink lists, tips and much more.

But more than that I have a story to tell and a vacation to share.

I hope everyone enjoys the ride ^_^

 

We invite you to come with us and experience "The Beautiful Norwegian Breakaway!"

 

 

I would like to start by dedicating this review in the loving memory of Kev, "luv2cruise53", fellow CC member and review writer. His witty and outgoing personality brought laughs and joy to many here in Cruise Critic. I remember finding his review when I was looking for information about Bermuda and I was immediately hooked into his storytelling method. I got to know him through his posts and thought of him like a friend. In order to keep his spirit alive, I am posting the link of his wonderful review. If you have some free time, please stop by his review and enjoy it. Here is the link: Review of NCL Star to Bermuda. May he rest in peace next to his beloved partner. You will always be remembered, Kevin.

 

 

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Hello everyone, how are you all doing? I am a 29 year old guy (I will forever be 29, ok! ;)) traveling with his mom. As some of you have probably figured out by now my bf is not very keen about cruising, so for now it is just my mom and I.

 

We are new to cruising and so far we have been on X, NCL and RCCL. We are currently on our plan of traveling on every cruise line within our price range to find which one suits us the most. However, I tend to get bored when I do the same thing over and over again, and this is why I think I will never settle for a specific cruise line. Only time will tell.

 

This is my third time around writing a fully detailed guide to a cruise ship. First, I wrote a short review of the Norwegian Sky. It was my first cruise and I did not go into deep details within the report. My first detailed review was the Allure of the Seas Review. I am very proud of this review and I think it was the main reason for getting into writing reviews. My second report was the X Silhouette Review. It was a great cruise that was unfortunately impacted by very bad weather during almost the entire voyage. This was also the first time that Gambee realized he had grown his sea legs :D. Now I will try to bring you aboard Breakaway and let you experience the magic of NCL from the comfort of your home or office (most likely office, I hope you can get some work done during these following weeks ;)).

 

I have also expanded and I now have both Facebook and Twitter accounts dedicated to cruising. The Facebook is mainly for those who just like looking at my pictures. It is easier to do so from there, so please feel free to friend request me. For the Twitter account, I plan on doing LIVE updates and such. Feel free to join me there too =).

 

 

 

I will start from where I left off..

 

Like I said, we traveled on the Allure on November 4, 2012. After I got home, I started the review immediately, and it took me roughly 2 weeks to complete it. Writing it was as much fun as the cruise itself and I am eternally thankful for everyone that was a part of it. After I was done with the review, the cruise blues started to hit me. Although the review kept me entertained for some time, once it was finished, I was starting to get bored.

 

 

And what better way to cure the blues than to start looking for another? yacht1_zps1bc36f92.gif

 

 

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So excited, I can't wait for your review Gambee. Thanks in advance for what I know will be a comprehensive and entertaining review.

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We had a fairly large group of choices for our next cruise, including Carnival Breeze, Disney Wonder, NCL Epic, X Reflection, X Silhouette, Princess Ruby and HAL Westerdam. We were mainly looking at cruises that sailed either from Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. Since we live in South Florida, we did not want to fly or drive to other ports, to save on overall cost.

 

I spent a few weeks doing some research, and in the end we decided to book X Reflection. It was a good option for us since it was a new ship and traveled to ports that neither of us had ever been to. In my opinion, X Solstice class ships have some of the best and cleanest looking lines at sea, not to mention their beautifully decorated interiors. As usual, after I booked it I started to plan our sea days and specialty dining options. We were pretty happy with our choice :).

 

It wasn't until a few weeks later that I realized that I had completely ignored NCL Breakaway during my initial search. I remembered the Breakaway from an advertisement that we saw during our NCL Sky cruise and from reading around here on the NCL board. I also remembered that someone from my other thread told me to choose the Breakaway for our next cruise. For some reason, I thought the ship would be delivered around August, and I wanted something closer to my birthday. Once I realized that the ship would hit New York around May, I decided to do some research on it. There were a few things that I was not crazy about, like 3 days in Bermuda, the cost of traveling to NY and the higher price tag of the cruise itself. But on the other hand, there was a lot that I loved, like all of the options for dining, the water slides, rope course, oceanfront and most of all, that it was the first ship in its class. After a quick chat with mom, we decided that it would be a nice idea to try out the Breakaway. We could always do X in the future. We know now that we of course were very lucky to be able to squeeze in X Silhouette before the Breakaway, but that was not the original plan.

 

 

 

So it was settled. We were going to New York and Bermuda! Both of us were eager.

 

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Image courtesy of Gate1travel

 

 

tumblr_lyopyhraiv1qi6ukao1_100_zpseeeb9ce8.gifIn This Cruise Ship!!!tumblr_lyopyhraiv1qi6ukao1_100_zpseeeb9ce8.gif

 

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Image courtesy of Andreas Depping

 

 

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For info on cabins, please go to this thread: Here is the link

 

I then proceeded to change our reservation, but the problem with the Breakaway was that for the same money for a nice balcony on Reflection, we could only get an inside room on this ship. After some thought, we decided to just do an inside room. I figured that it's a new ship with what looked like plenty of open air space (oceanfront) and that in the end we would be fine with an inside room. So, I did a little research and got a room on deck 12 so it would be nice and quiet. I bought it from a trusted TA and got a $100 credit as well as a bottle of wine…

 

Well, I lie. That is what I told my mom. I did not want her to spend the extra money for the balcony. This trip was my Birthday/Christmas gift, and it was expensive enough already. I decided to book us a balcony, and I would just cover the extra cost for the upgrade. That was going to be a surprise for her. I had it all planned and it was going to be a lot of fun :).

 

Picking a balcony was a little hard as there was very little info and mostly everyone on CC was just speculating on everything. So, I decided to look around a little and price different balconies. At one point in time, I remembered how much I loved being in the back of the NCL SKY, so I priced an aft balcony. Boy, were they expensive! It was the same price as a mini suite, and I really was not expecting it to be that much. It took me some thinking, but I just had to do it. Just imagine our very first aft cabin on this ship!

 

Then, I looked around and chose cabin 12906. From the looks of it, the cabin had one of the deepest balconies. The room also had a prime location near the elevators and close to most of the activities that we enjoy in the ship.

 

We were really glad that I made that decision to pick this cabin. Considering the size of the regular balconies on Breakaway, this was money very well spent. By the way, if you're wondering which aft balconies are the largest, it goes like this:

 

The deepest staterooms are in deck 9, followed by deck 12, then deck 11, deck 10, deck 14, and the smallest ones are on deck 13.

 

But, I would always try to avoid deck 13 and 14 as they are significantly smaller than the other decks, and the noise from H2O should be much more intense up there. One more thing when considering deck 9 is that it is directly above the oceanfront and the roof of deck 8 extends a few feet outward. To me, it really does seem like that would affect the view, but I guess in the end it’s all about your personal choice.

 

Considering the small size of the Breakaway’s balconies, there are other options for those who would like a larger balcony, but do not like the aft balconies. The M6 mini suites on deck 8 have huge balconies, although some of the balcony is exposed to the decks above. None the less, I think that these rooms will be in high demand. I also remember reading somewhere that the balconies there are over 110 square feet. There are more options on deck 9 forward, and the B6 staterooms also have a large balcony that I am sure many will enjoy. Just a little research will help you see if these are cabins that are right for you.

 

 

Anyway, back to the story. Here was our room. For those wondering, the square footage of my balcony was 140, almost as much as the room itself at 175. My balcony was actually wider than the room, since it ate a little of the space in the suite next to me.

 

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Image courtesy of http://koopvaardij.blogspot.com/

 

 

During the following months, mom kept asking me the cost of upgrading to a balcony cabin. Well, I kept telling her that it was roughly $1300 and reminding her of all the specialty restaurants, spa, vibe, cost of NY hotel, air etc. But she insisted on asking weekly, so eventually I lied to her and told her that our reservation was a no cancellation/modification cabin. After I told her that, she made a face that just destroyed me, it was as if I told her about some terrible family news. The day after that, I decided to just tell her so that she could be happy during the following months. Once I told her, she was super happy but at the same time frustrated that I told her. Good thing I had my bf to back me up. I always have a hard time keeping surprises, but this time it was not my fault. I was trying really hard and even keeping everything hidden in CC. You can't win them all, I guess.

 

And that folks is the story of how we booked our first ever aft cabin :D.

 

 

 

For those of you who would like to do research prior to selecting a cabin, CC member bear3412 has created a spreadsheet to aid in that process. Please bare with him as this is a work in process, but overall it is a great source of info. Thank you Bear! Here is the link: Cabin & Balcony Sqft Spreadsheet

 

 

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I like posting this section early in the review since this is a topic that came up frequently in the Allure review.

 

What camera do I have, you ask? Well, I am a proud owner of one of the Sony NEX systems, more precisely the Sony NEX-F3. This camera is possibly the most affordable camera on the NEX lineup, yet she still has the same sensor as some of its more expensive siblings (the NEX-F3 is being replaced by Sony with the new NEX-3N, although most reviews claim that the F3 is a better performer). What makes this system so great is that she delivers quality pictures while still being such a compact size. I cannot say enough good things about this camera. This is possibly the best camera that I have ever owned and one that is very easy to travel with due to her size. I have considered upgrading to a full frame DSLR, but honestly, since I am a really easy going person, the thought of carrying a heavy camera while traveling just turns me down. I love great pictures and I won’t settle for just any system, but I have finally found a compromise in my camera’s weight, size and picture quality. This is, after all, my vacation ;-).

 

I also carry a few lens with me:

 

The Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar 24mm F1.8. What can I tell you about this lens? This is my absolute favorite piece of glass! This is my #1 lens. If I was told that I could only travel with one lens, then this would be it. If you see interior pictures, the odds are that they were taken with this lens, as it is very fast and it delivers very good pictures (even during the most unpredictable situations). Of course, all this comes at a high cost, but unfortunately that is the sad part of photography… good equipment is just not cheap.

 

The Sony 10-18mm F4 is an Ultra Wide angle lens. I purchased this lens recently and had the opportunity of trying it out aboard the Silhouette. This time around I found that I really did not use this that much, now I am seriously considering selling it.

 

The Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 is my only zoom lens. It is a pretty basic lens and nothing really special to write about here. As long as there is enough light it performs pretty well, however, it does tend to struggle when light becomes scarce. Hopefully, Sony will soon release a faster zoom lens, but until then I am very happy with this one!

 

The Rokinon 8mm F2.8 Fisheye lens is just a really fun toy to work with. This time around I really did not use this lens at all, I am not sure why. Maybe it was because I was not carrying my bag like I usually do. I am also considering selling this lens.

 

How does the camera perform with the provided kit lens? For those of you wondering, she does very well. She might not have the capabilities of low light that the Zeiss has, but the overall pictures are excellent. If you are thinking of buying it, I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed with the results!

 

 

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Left to right: Sony NEX-F3 with the 24mm Zeiss attached, SEL 10-18 ultra wide, 55-210 Zoom and 8mm Fisheye.

 

 

 

Waterproof Camera

 

I purchased this camera for the Silhouette trip, and it was supposed to be my underwater camera for mainly snorkeling. Little did I know, the weather turned out to be a complete disaster and I did not get a chance to snorkel with her at all; crazy, huh? Well anyway, I learned that this camera was much more than just a snorkeling camera. It ended up being my weather and video camera. I captured decent videos with her and I was very lucky to have her during our day in Jamaica when the weather was just really bad for most of the day. The thing is that after two trips with this camera I am seriously disappointed with the quality of pictures that it delivers. Unfortunately finding a good underwater camera is just not easy, I think I might just by a case of my NEX. Although I am scared of ruining my NEX under water. In any case I have some research ahead of me with that.

 

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Software & Image Hosting

 

For most of my picture editing I use Lightroom. Like I said, I am not a pro. I use this software for some light color correction and sharpening. It is also great at compressing 5mb files into 400kb files with minimal quality loss. The one thing that I don't like about Lightroom is that it is not capable of doing panoramas on its own. For panoramas I use Photoshop CS6 (you can also use the in-camera software or other tools). And lastly, for collages I use Picasa and Paintbrush, for adding arrows and text to some images. All of these images are hosted by photobucket. I have two photobucket accounts and pay $2.99 each month for each account. Why two accounts? Well, I messed up and now I have to pay for two…

 

I also host my images in Facebook for those who just like browsing through pictures. Feel free to ask for a friend request and follow me on Twitter!

 

 

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I will be posting a few videos in the process. To view the videos, just click on the SMALL pictures. If some of you are just looking at pictures, keep in mind that any small picture will be a video. Once in YouTube, don't forget to change the quality of the video to 720p or 1080p HD, as it makes the video so much better looking.

 

Here is an example of one:

 

 

 

 

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So excited, I have been waiting all week for this. I knew you would start almost the minute you got home. lol I hope you and your mom had a wonderful time!!

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Thank you Gambee, loving it already:D

 

Even better, I just realized that I am in the same cabin as you!

Edited by Maryfrei

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Planning was a slow process. The problem was that there was very little information out there about this ship. Most of my planning was done from rumors, speculation and information about the Epic, since the ships seemed to share some similarities. NCL did have some information about specialty dining venues and other things, but overall it was not enough to go on for my usual obsessive planning. Without any Dailies there were little activities that I could actually plan for, so we just had to wing it.

 

Specialty Restaurants

 

This Dining guide can be found on the NCL website, and it offers pretty much all of the information that you need to create a dining budget. With this in hand, I had a pretty clear idea about what we wanted to try during our cruise. Please note Blue increased to $49pp (more on this later).

 

 

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Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

 

 

Wine

 

NCL offers a wine package that can get you considerable savings (up to 25%). Here is the information I found on the forum prior to our sailing, the Fleet Wide Wine List. I find some wines to be reasonably priced on NCL ships.

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Liquor

 

Please don't bash me for this, but unfortunately the liquor situation was one big flaw that I saw in NCL Sky. During our cruise on the Sky, we ordered several drinks from a variety of bartenders, but unfortunately only one bartender (MDR) made the drinks with an adequate amount of liquor. Unfortunately, most drinks were watered down and weak. Even my mom said that her Pina Colada tasted like a virgin. I am not sure why, but my guess is that it stems from their training about saving money.

 

Fortunately for those with a thirsty palate, NCL deployed a new all you can drink alcohol package. It seems that most mainstream lines are implementing these kind of packages. The NCL one requires everyone in the cabin to get the package, and the cost is $56 + 15% for gratuities, or $46 for the basic one. Although an option for some, this was not ideal for us, as it was simply too expensive to purchase for the both of us.

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Another option they offer is the Stateroom Bar Setup. This was a much better option for us, as I can control how much liquor to add to each drink. The bar setup has to be ordered at least one week prior to sailing (although some people claim they were able to order up to the day before). Once onboard, you will not be able to purchase it. You have to call the main reservations line to place your order (1-800-327-7030). If you bought your cruise from a TA and they are having trouble placing the order, just tell them to process it as a gift from someone else.

 

Here is the list of current liquor bottle prices. (Plus $3 service fee per bottle)

 

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Internet

 

When we sail, my mom needs to stay in contact with my grandmother and family in Colombia. So for this sailing we opted to go by the minute and buy the internet package in Bermuda for $15 for 3 days, I will get into that later. The internet was to be used solely for my mom to communicate with family. Okay I lied, I did sneak a peek on Facebook here and there =). For email access on my mac I use Sparrow, it is the simplest and fastest email client I have tried and is perfect for cruising.

 

Internet plans:

Pay as you go: $0.75 per minute

250 minutes for $100 ($0.40 per minute)

100 minutes for $55 ($0.55 per minute)

 

I noticed these 2 more plans were added on the last day.

15 minutes for $8.25

30 minutes for $12.00

 

*One time activation fee of $3.95 for all plans.

 

 

Spa and Vibe Club

 

On this cruise, we were interested in purchasing a few day passes or a week pass for the steam room and spa pools. Unfortunately I thought the cost was going to be the same as Epic, with the price increase we decided not to do it. Cost for the Spa is $49 per person, per day (only Port days) , or $200 per person for the weekly pass.

 

 

We were also interested in buying a day pass or week pass for the Vibe Club. The only real reason why we considered it was for the access to two additional hot tubs.

 

Here is the cost for Vibe:

 

Day access passes will be $20 per person

 

Week access passes will be $79 per person

 

Full Sea Day Cabana Rentals – $99 for two guests

(includes day pass and $30 food and beverage credit to be used in Vibe)

 

Full Port Day Cabana Rental - $79 for two guests

(includes day pass and $30 food and beverage credit to be used in Vibe)

 

Full Cruise Cabana Rental - $299 for two guests

(includes week pass and $100 food and beverage credit to be used in Vibe)

 

Cabana price will reflect on guest purchasing and any guest wanting to access Vibe will need to pay the access pass.

 

 

Other Costs

 

* We also had to account for the $20 per person to go to the ice bar, since we were interested in visiting it.

 

* My mom usually gets the soda package (@$6.25 per day) as she likes to have several sips of fresh bubbly Coke throughout the day. The problem with NCL is that they don't offer Coke products, so in the end she decided not to get the package.

 

* And of course, gratuities, which are $12 per person, per day. I usually end up giving extra on the side.

 

 

Trip Insurance

 

As suggested by many fellow CC members, I went to Insure My Trip and shopped around for travel insurance. My mom wanted some kind of insurance just in case we needed to be lifted out the ship in case of an emergency. We ended settling for HCC Medical Insurance Services with the Atlas International plan. The total was $34.16 for both of us.

 

 

Coupon Book

 

Here is the 2013 Coupon Book. From what I learned from other CC members, the 2012 book was better than the 2013 one. It seems to me that the coupons are mainly to get you to spend extra money on things that wouldn’t normally do otherwise. I wish they had at least one coupon for a specialty restaurant deal; I was looking forward for one of those.

 

 

If you have any further questions, you can email them at groupevent(insert your ship name here)@ncl dot com. I got the fastest response from that email.

 

 

 

DiningGuide_03062013.pdf

Edited by gambee

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During the planning stage for Bermuda, there was plenty of talk that the government was not working fast enough on the repairs/expansion of the pier for the Breakaway. Taking this into account, I decided to plan accordingly as if we had to tender the entire time we would be in Bermuda. One of the aspects of the Breakaway that was not as appealing to us was the fact that we would be docked in one port for 3 days. Part of why we love cruising is moving from location to location and being on a moving ship. But after some research, I found that Bermuda has a lot to offer and we will have different activities to do each day.

 

I won’t go through my itinerary in this section. Instead, this will be a guide to help those planning a cruise to Bermuda. Obviously it is impossible for me to cover everything that there is to see and do in Bermuda, but I will try my best to cover the top attractions that the island has to offer. I hope this guide will be useful for some.

 

Click on the map to go to an interactive map.

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Image courtesy of SailBadtheSinner

 

This is not the best map, but it is the best of one I found that can be viewed in a CC post. There is one really AMAZING map with a lot of details, but you need to zoom in on it to get a better viewing experience. However, I highly recommend that map. To get it just click HERE. I will also attach a PDF file that contains the map.

 

 

Let’s Start with the Royal Naval Dockyard

 

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The National Museum of Bermuda seems to be the main attraction in this area. The cost is $10 for anyone over 13 and free for kids under 13. It is open from 9:30-5:00pm.

 

Snorkel Park Beach is a great area for snorkeling, with sunken cannons and such to make your experience more interesting. The cost for the entrance varies from $5 during weekdays, free on Saturdays, $10 on Sundays and children under 12 are free. They also have a night club on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with an entrance cost of $10 per person.

 

Dolphin Quest

As you can imagine, is a dolphin encounter. They have different experiences, starting from a 5 minute $60 per person dolphin moment to their ultimate hour long meet, feed and ride the dolphin for a mere $295 per person. :rolleyes:.

 

Hartley's Famous Undersea Walk. If you do some research on Bermuda, you will find tons of people give 5 star ratings to this tour. It looks like an incredible tour that allows you to touch and feed the fish. This tour departs from Heritage Wharf and the cost per person is $95 for divers and $48 for Riders/Observers. They also offer their picture package for $15 per picture, plus $10 for the CD. This tour was in our sights, but I did not think my mom would enjoy it as much as me, and I wanted to plan activities that we would both equally enjoy.

 

Glass Beach.

The real name for this beach is Black Bay Beach and is an approximate 20 minute walk from the Dockyard, although some people claim it is farther away. You can go there and collect sea glass. Some people claim that the cruise lines are 50/50 on letting the items on board, with some people said they get confiscated and some don't. There is also lots of talk about not taking the glass and just leaving it there for others to enjoy.

 

Bermuda Clayworks is your shopping place for ceramics.

 

Bermuda Glassworks is your shopping venue for glassware. They have items available from $10 to smaller items, to hundreds of dollars for larger items.

 

Bermuda Craft Market is your place for arts and crafts.

 

Bermuda Clocktower Mall is home for several stores such as Bermuda Triangle, Caesar's heath store, Calypso, Crisson Jewelers, Perfume Shop and more.

 

 

Here is a short video of the Royal Naval Dockyard

 

 

 

 

 

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Continuing, I will go west to east. South Hampton & Warwick Parish

 

This area is mostly well-known for its beach path and contains some of the island's most famous beaches. To get here, just take bus #7 from the Dockyard or from the City of Hamilton.

 

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Quotations from Bermuda-attractions

 

 

Church Bay Beach, to quote, "has always been one of our great favorites for snorkeling. This is a little cove formed by coral cliffs at the western end of the south-shore beaches. The beach area is very small and practically disappears during high tide."

 

Gibbs Lighthouse, to quote, "If you want to get a panoramic view of Bermuda and its shoreline, there is no better place than seeing it from the balcony at the top of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Bermuda." The cost is $2.50 per person, and free for children under 5.

 

Horseshoe Bay Beach. To quote, "This is a curved stretch of pink sand and is the most popular beach in Bermuda. It can also provide great snorkeling experience if you are willing to go a little offshore towards the rocks."

 

Chaplin Bay Beach. To quote, "It's a quiet beach and a perfect location to relax, unwind and read a book. The beach disappears almost completely during high tides."

 

Stone Hole Bay Beach. To quote, "I doubt many tourists are finding it at the moment as the bulk of our*visitors come*by cruise ship and go with the flock to Horseshoe Bay, which is a beautiful beach, but it’s walking distance to bays like this that you can pretty much have to yourself."

 

Jobson's Cove, to quote, "is a very popular beach for both locals and visitors, particularly for families with children. This picture-perfect beach with its pink sands, gentle waves and calm waters gives the feel of a serene hideaway. It's also an ideal place to relax and picnic."

 

Warwick Long Bay Beach, to quote, "is a long and magnificent half a mile stretch of pink sands. Against a backdrop of grape &*cedar trees, and low grasses, the beach looks fabulous. It's one of the most picturesque beaches of Bermuda."

 

 

 

Continuing to Hamilton City

 

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To get to Hamilton from the dockyard, you can take the Blue ferry or bus #7 or 8.

 

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Visitors Service Bureaus is "located next to the Hamilton ferry terminal. Here you can collect useful pocket maps and brochures for free."

 

Most Holy Trinity Cathedral. To quote, "the style is early English, with a tower rising 143 ft. and provides a nice view of Hamilton Bermuda." There is a $3 fee to go the top of the cathedral.

 

Par-La-Ville park (now Queen Elizabeth Park), is, to quote "a beautiful city park like an oasis with trees, shaded gardens and walkways. As you walk along the mosaic walkways, you will see rock gardens, flower beds and shady trees all around. There are wooden benches as well."

 

Fort Hamilton . "Located in the outskirts of Hamilton City, Fort Hamilton is a picturesque site overlooking the lush gardens and the harbor. It offers spectacular views over the rooftops of Hamilton, especially when cruise ships are in port. The upper levels and battlements have been landscaped with lawns, which make a fine place for a summer picnic." There is no admission fee.

 

Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. "Our purpose is to enhance understanding of the mysteries of the ocean. This is done through a series of eye-popping artifacts and exhibits, many of them interactive". Admission fee is $12.50 for adults, $6 for children between 6-17 and free for children under 5.

 

Bermuda National Gallery, "contains collections of 17th &*18th century European paintings by such artists as Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough."

 

Admiralty House Park. "The property has a historic building, nice park, nature and hiking trails. The trails lead to great ocean view." The entrance to the park is free, and to get there you just take bus #4 from Hamilton. It is about 2 miles from there. There are lots of attractions to explore including caves and trails.

 

Hamilton Harbor. "This is the Hamilton port area between Pembroke and Paget parishes where you will always see hundreds of boats in a picturesque setting. The harbor also has berths for cruise ships along the Front Street of Hamilton City."

 

Obviously there is much more to explore and do, but I am going to stop here as these are the most popular attractions.

 

 

 

Bermuda Aquarium & Zoo, Spittal Pond and Crystal Caves

 

 

Screenshot2013-01-20at20800PM_zpsdfee8455.png

 

Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and ZOO (BAMZ)

This is one of the main attractions in Bermuda and you will need about 2-3 hours to truly enjoy this site. There are free tours starting at 1:00 PM, or you're free to do it on your own. The park opens at 9 AM and closes at 5 PM. The price for admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children between 5-12 and free for children under 5 To get there you can take either bus #10 or Bus #11.

 

Crystal Caves of Bermuda

There are 2 caves: Crystal Cave and Fantasy Cave. Crystal Cave is the main cave with mostly predominant blue waters. Fantasy cave has more formations coming from the ceiling. You can visit each cave for $20 or both combined for $27, children 5-12 $8, or $10 respectively and free for children under 5. The caves can only be done with tour guides, so you will not be allowed to explore on your own. Hours are from 9 AM to 5 PM, with tours starting every 20 minutes. The last tour is at 4:30 PM. To get there you can take Bus Routes: #1, 3, 10 and 11.

 

Spittal Pond Nature Reserve . "This is the largest and the most premium nature reserve of Bermuda covering 64-acres of land and is the best bird watching location in the island." Admission to the park is free and you can take buses #1 or #3 to get there.

 

 

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Saint George

 

 

To get to St. George, you can take the Orange ferry to the Dockyard or bus routes: # 1, 3, 10 and 11 from Hamilton.

 

Screenshot2013-01-20at115842AM_zpsef3000ff.png

Image courtesy of Google maps

 

Click on the map to go to the interactive version.

Screenshot2013-01-06at80733PM_zps6e5883be.png

Image courtesy of bermuda-attractions

Quotations from bermuda-attractions

 

 

St. Peter's Church . "This is the oldest Anglican church in the new world and still in use."

 

St. Catherine Fort . "One of the most impressive forts in the island, St. Catherine fort has many historic exhibits, artifacts, and a well preserved interior. Surrounded by a dry moat and accessed by a drawbridge, the fort has a large number of tunnels, towers, redoubts and ramparts. St Catherine Fort is located north of St George's town and is not on a major bus route. If you like to walk, it's not quite difficult. While the walk towards the fort is uphill and may be a little challenging, the walk back to the town is downhill and easy. You can also take a Minibus service. The mini buses depart from King’s Square. There are benches located next to the George and Dragon Restaurant. They depart all times of the day. Average ticket $4 per person." The cost to the entrance of the Fort is $7 for adults and $2 for children.

 

St. Catherine Beach. This is one of the main attractions in Bermuda, and you will need about 2-3 hours to truly enjoy this site. "Placid waters and soft white sand are what this beach is known for. Out of the city crowd, this beach is quite popular with locals."

 

Tobacco Bay Beach, to quote, "is one of the most popular beaches in the island. It’s a great beach for sunbathing and snorkeling". Since the beach is near the fort the same uphill walk is required, and buses are available.

 

King's Square. "This is an open space were you will need to come to start your tour for the St. George's Town. The square was created only in 19th century by filling up a marshy part of St. George Harbor."

 

Unfinished Cathedral. "The construction work began in the 1870s when the St Peters Church was badly damaged by a storm and was thought to be beyond repair. So a new church had to be built."

 

Bermuda National Trust Museum. "On the first floor, the so called Rogues and Runners Museum presents a detailed exposition of Bermuda's role in America Civil War."

 

Gates Fort. "It's located at the end of Cut Road and is 1 mile away. You can take bus #3 if you don't want to walk." This is a smaller Fort and the entrance is free.

 

There are a few other sites like Town Hall, Old State House, Tucker House Museum, Somers Wharf, Carter House and St. David's Lighthouse.

 

 

 

Transportation

 

Getting around Bermuda is fairly easy, and you can get a taxi to show you around the island. You can also rent a motorcycle or use their public transportation system. We opted for the later one, as I figured it was a good way to see the island for 3 days and save some money. Here are their rates (we found that there was no need for the pink route):

 

Screenshot2013-02-01at92352AM_zps0cb1cd8e.png

 

 

 

 

Additional Information

 

Here are some links for more Complete Brochures:

 

* Diving Guide

* Fishing Guide

* Golfing Guide

* Sightseeing & Sports Guide

* Dining & Nightlife Guide

* Wedding Brochure

* A Very Complete Guide and Clear Maps

* East to West Self-Guided Tour

* Dockyard Complete Guide with Detailed Map

* St. George Guide

 

 

And with that, I complete my guide to Bermuda Planning. I used several sites and hope that the links stay active for some time to come. I decided to do this so that you will only need one source to get all of their info and to have a vague idea of the budget needed for the island.

 

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Screenshot2013-04-19at10145PM_zps3ea96475.png

 

 

Since I had not seen the Freestyle Daily's, and had no idea what the activities would be, I had to make some changes in the. In any case, I still managed to do a schedule of what we had planned to do in each day and made sure I did not miss all of my to-do's.

 

Remember, 45 days before we boarded, NCL released the show for reservations (60 days for Suites).

 

 

Screenshot2013-04-27at102833AM_zps6769f165.png

 

 

 

 

NCL Breakaway.xls

Edited by gambee

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Wow! This is phenomenal and you're just getting started. :D:cool::)

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Just sent a FB friend request! I've really not had an urge to go to Bermuda or to sail on mega-ship....but you've changed that!!!! Great review!! :cool:

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What an amazing in-depth review.........and you only just got started!!

I'm subscribing to this and I would love to see your photos so I'll head over to facebook and friend request you too!! Thank-you!! :)

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Gambee- 1st- lovely tribute. I know what you mean about Kev. I have been following your posts closely. I feel as though I know you. I am guessing many of us feel this way. Many of your pics and posts made me feel like I was right there with you.

 

2nd- THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. We have all been wondering about the new girl- and you have really helped us get to know her.

 

3rd- So glad that you enjoyed your trip. When I sail- I will be raising a glass or two to you and Bear. You have been so helpful.

 

4th- Can't wait to read the rest!

 

Peace-

Ame

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I have been waiting for this review and you are off to an excellent start! :) Can't wait to read the rest!

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Wow. Between this and the fact that they are showing John Wayne movies all day on the TCM channel it's gonna be a fun day.

 

Awesome. Looking forward to more.:D

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Gambee,

 

Have been looking forward to this review since you posted your X review.

 

Welcome back from your cruise. I hope you had a blast!! Can't wait to experience it in your review.

 

Bill

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Welcome back Gambee. Great start to the review. I'm looking forward to following along.

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Gambee: WOW! What an amazing tribute to Kev, who was all about Bermuda. He would have absolutely loved this thread. Incredible, jaw dropping detail. Simply AMAZING!!!! :D

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Great start!!

My friend and I did Dawn to Bermuda a few summers ago and are planning to return next summer.

This may be what puts us over the edge on picking Breakaway vs Dawn again.

 

Thanks- looking forward to the rest :D

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Gambee...it's simply amazing that you plan so much in advance in a short amount of time...looking forward to another great review! You'll be a writer for a cruise review site soon! I am thinking maybe even AAA would use your reviews!

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Ahhh here we go, the moment I've been waiting for, for like a month! :D You're first part just took me 30 minutes to read, love how thorough it is and I feel like every single review is getting better (if that's possible!) I don't know what it is with my computer and your reviews but if you remember what happened while I was reading your Silhouette review, just happened again although this time I was on the couch downstairs with the charger upstairs! :p

 

Really looking forward to all of the great pictures as I still don't have a good sense of the ship layout. I was really considering buying your camera for Allure because the one I'm bringing is going to be too big (I think). But there is only one left on Amazon and I wouldn't be able to get it for a few days and by then it will probably be out of stock, yay! :rolleyes:

 

Can't wait to read more my friend!

Edited by swim13

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Welcome back Gambee. You have already "WOWED" us and it is just the beginning of your review. Only bad part is that I am getting ready for our cruise on the Grandeur to Bermuda this coming Friday. I guess I will have to read what I can this week and finish when I get back.

 

You do such an awesome job. You really should write for a travel magazine. And the pictures are outstanding.

 

I will friend request you on Facebook sometime soon.

 

Thanks for doing these reviews. I know we all look forward to them and enjoy them tremendously.

 

Gwen :)

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Thank you Gambee for starting your review already - it looks amazing so far!!

 

Looking forward to your in-depth review of the ship, as well as your deck 12 B1 aft cabin, as we are also on deck 12. We originally booked an inside, upgraded to a deck 14 standard balcony, then switched to the aft-facing balcony because of it's size. I haven't told the family yet - so should be a surprise to all!

 

Thanks again for doing a review - looking forward to the rest! :D

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Can't wait to read more! What a fantastic, detailed review already. Patiently waiting for more. :)

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Can't wait for all the details! Thank you so much for doing this! One advance question: if we are booking breakaway to bermuda, is april too early for nice bermuda weather? Isn't it near North Carolina? Thanks.

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