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William W

NCL Breakaway vs RCCL Grandeur

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I'm sort of in a dilemma between going on NCL Breakaway vs the RCCL Grandeur.

 

We are currently book on the Grandeur in 2 category M for a 7 nights Bahamas sailing during the last week of August. And with the NCL Kids Sail Free option, I can do a 7 nights Bermuda cruise on the Breakaway but the 4 of us will be staying in 1 interior guarantee for the same price.

 

I have been always want to do Bermuda as I have never been there. And I have been to the Bahamas and the Caribbean multiple times, in fact, we would be doing a Freedom cruise in December this year.

 

We were on the NCL Dawn this past December, and I would not say we hate it. But we enjoy RCCL more.

 

As they are price similar, the questions really boils down:

-2 inside vs 1 inside cabin

-Bermuda in May vs Bahamas in August

-As I think Grandeur definitely trumps the NCL Dawn, is the Breakaway is much superior to the NCL Dawn. At least enough for me to give NCL another chance.

 

Any feedbacks will be much appreciated.

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I can't speak to NCL but I will say...2 rooms is better than 1...esp for 4 people. I have been to Bermuda 4 times and I love it...but I don't love it in May. We went mid May and it was too cold and windy to enjoy the beach/water really. The water was full of jelly fish as it can be at that time of year and the locals don't even go in the water until Early June. Its still beautiful but certainly not tropical at that time of year if that is what you are looking for. Hope this help a little!

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William, I'd put my money on Breakaway to Bermuda in May.

 

In comparing ships, I think you could compare Dawn to Grandeur in size and age. Dawn has Freestyle dining, Grandeur has My Time Dining, although you can still get traditional seating.

 

Breakaway is a brand-new ship, so it will probably have more bells and whistles for the kids.

 

A few years ago I did the Bahamas thing on Carnival Glory out of Norfolk (Freeport, Nassau) and it was no great shakes. If you've never been to Bermuda, I highly recommend it. That's where I'm going on Grandeur in May. I think it's safer than the Bahamas and easier to get around.

 

You didn't mention the ages of your kids, so I don't know how much of a hassle sharing a cabin with them would be. This may be your deciding factor.

 

I think the weather in either place in either month will be similar. Very warm.

 

Good luck!

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I'd go Bermuda and Breakaway, although I've been dying to try that ship so I might be biased :)

I also really love Bermuda

Edited by hansolosmom

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There would be no question for me - Breakaway all the way. That ship looks absolutely fantastic.

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I am 50 and just got off my 52nd cruise last week. Yes, the Grandeur is older but refurbished and updated less than two years ago.

 

I took the Breakaway to Bermuda and my other half and father in law and myself agree, it was our worst ship we ever been on!

I give you some ideas what we didn't like but I must say, I definitely would have two staterooms (2 bathrooms to) than one, NCL nickels and dimes you all the way.....the Breakaway is a much much larger ship with "too many people"for her layout and size and she is a rocky ship, we never had such a rocky cruise (good weather) coming back from Bermuda to NY and we were told it was normal.

 

I have taken NCL throughout the years 4 times before the Breakaway, each time coming back saying I won't go again on NCL, but after a few years we gave it a try thinking it has gotten better and found it hasn't, the Breakaway was our VERY LAST NCL cruise we ever take.

 

There are too many negatives...ship felt overcrowded, the pool area was very tight and everybody looked like a can of sardines in that tiny pool. The buffets were just ok RC are much much better in quality/selection and variety. I have to be gluten free and dairy free I barely had anything but some salad, tomatoes and handful of potatoes or rice for lunch. NCL did not have a meat carving daily at the buffet. The staff sometimes had difficulty understanding english and overall we did not have that pleasant friendly atmosphere from them as we always have from RC. There were so many other negatives to this ship that I chose to just forget and never go back on. Its like I said, our worst ship we ever been on.

 

We did enjoy Bermuda a lot, but we hated docking there for two and half days, you only need a day to see it actually but I don't regret seeing Bermuda at all.

 

You didn't mention the ages of your children but considering you have children, I would choose two rooms for sure. You get what you pay for....I think a smaller ship with so many less passengers would be best since you have children to. The Grandeur is very easily naviaged and RC is my favorite cruise line.

 

The smaller ships on the NCL line seem to be more better than the Breakway.

 

Nassau is just ok not my favorite by any means but you can get day passes to a hotel to use their facilities (pool beach etc) but remember, its the ship that counts. I do believe the Grandeur also goes to one of their out islands, perhaps Coco Cay love it there!!!

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NCL nickels and dimes you all the way.....

 

I'm curious as to how:confused:

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They all do when they have added choices.

 

I don't agree with NCL charge for pizza delivery

Set up fees even though you purchase internet service plans

Fee for the cirque du soleil show (food that was given to us was worse than banquet quality, made TGIF, Applebees and Chili's seem like 3/4 star rating dining

There nicest area on the ship to sit outside has a fee

To use the spa which includes the vitality pool there is a fee

To get into the "ice Bar' there is a fee

There is a bowling alley that cost a fee

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I'm pretty sure you get more time in bermuda on the breakaway. Last I looked the grandeur arrives in the evening for the first night which is a total waste.

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Normally I'd say Breakaway because you're comparing one of the oldest ships to one of the newest ships but you're also comparing a quad vs. two cabins. Not an easy choice. Call me selfish if you may but we did two cruises in a quad with adolescents and knowing what I know now and having the money, I would never do it again. If you're doing multiple cruises a year, I might suffer through it again but if your cruising is limited, go for the two cabins despite the older ship. Just my honest opinion.

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Thanks for the reply everyone.

 

Breakaway is a brand-new ship, so it will probably have more bells and whistles for the kids.

 

You didn't mention the ages of your kids, so I don't know how much of a hassle sharing a cabin with them would be. This may be your deciding factor.

 

 

The kids are 7 and 1. I was thinking the Breakaway would have more activities for my 7 years old to do as compare to the Grandeur. 2 bathroom would be nice, but I think the kids are young enough where I don't think it matters whether we have one or 2. Though, probably because of the layout of the cabins, the interior cabin for RCCL seems to feel larger than an NCL interior.

 

I have taken NCL throughout the years 4 times before the Breakaway, each time coming back saying I won't go again on NCL, but after a few years we gave it a try thinking it has gotten better and found it hasn't, the Breakaway was our VERY LAST NCL cruise we ever take.

 

There are too many negatives...ship felt overcrowded, the pool area was very tight and everybody looked like a can of sardines in that tiny pool. The buffets were just ok RC are much much better in quality/selection and variety. I have to be gluten free and dairy free I barely had anything but some salad, tomatoes and handful of potatoes or rice for lunch. NCL did not have a meat carving daily at the buffet. The staff sometimes had difficulty understanding english and overall we did not have that pleasant friendly atmosphere from them as we always have from RC. There were so many other negatives to this ship that I chose to just forget and never go back on. Its like I said, our worst ship we ever been on.

 

Some of the things you mentioned are also the reasons why I didn't particularly enjoy the NCL Dawn. It seems the buffet had limited selection, and the quality of the ingredient at the complimentary restaurants seems to be lacking, portion are also smaller, and the waiting staff at the restaurants seems to be indifferent. Based on what you said, it doesn't sound like it is much better with the Breakaway as compare to the Dawn.

 

It is too bad that the Explorer charges more than the Breakaway going to Bermuda. If so, I don't think the decision would be as tough, as I would have just switch my Grandeur booking to a reservation at the Explorer.

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Lyndamr raises good points about Breakaway that I have wondered about. So I have to modify my vote. If you can find a deal on Grandeur to Bermuda (I did, miraculously, kind of "last minute")' that's optimal.

 

I used to be a walking commercial for NCL, but that ended after Freestyle. Since I often sail alone, I found myself seated alone too often in the MDR because fellow passengers didn't want a stranger at their table. Nuts to that!

 

William, I think Bermuda is your ultimate destination. It's now a matter of finding the ship to get you there for the best price.

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I look to cruises out of Baltimore, New Jersey, and New York as they are relatively easy drive-to's from where we live. That said, the 61% approval rating on Cruise Critic reviews for the Breakaway is a very low number compared to most all other ships. While considering the ship for a possible cruise there are two themes that seem consistent in many reviews. One is that there is not enough space for common area enjoyment. The pool deck appears to be inadequate for this size ship. The other complaint seems to be that there are too many venues requiring an up-charge. Yes, I know we can all choose not to participate, but when the volume of paid venues impinges on public areas for all to enjoy. . .

 

Again, this is all based on what I have researched as opposed to first hand experience; but over the recent two years I have chosen Enchantment, Explorer, Grandeur, and Carnival Pride instead.

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Thanks for the reply everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kids are 7 and 1. I was thinking the Breakaway would have more activities for my 7 years old to do as compare to the Grandeur. 2 bathroom would be nice, but I think the kids are young enough where I don't think it matters whether we have one or 2. Though, probably because of the layout of the cabins, the interior cabin for RCCL seems to feel larger than an NCL interior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the things you mentioned are also the reasons why I didn't particularly enjoy the NCL Dawn. It seems the buffet had limited selection, and the quality of the ingredient at the complimentary restaurants seems to be lacking, portion are also smaller, and the waiting staff at the restaurants seems to be indifferent. Based on what you said, it doesn't sound like it is much better with the Breakaway as compare to the Dawn.

 

 

 

It is too bad that the Explorer charges more than the Breakaway going to Bermuda. If so, I don't think the decision would be as tough, as I would have just switch my Grandeur booking to a reservation at the Explorer.

 

 

Grandeur has a 6 night cruise to Bermuda, but it's not offered until schools are back in session. We sailed in late Sep last year and there were 20-25 kids on board. Also, if you want to go to Bermuda, HAL will be sailing into Hamilton from Boston in 2015 and Splendor has one cruise there out of Norfolk in Oct 2015.

 

Also, I am curious, with the current KSF offer by RCI, is there any chance to get a bigger room on Grandeur for roughly the same price?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Cruise Critic Forums mobile app

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Hello William W:

 

Honestly your child at the age of 7 I believe that there are plenty of activities on the Grandeur, if you had a teenager then I would go for a larger ship that has other activities such as rock climbing wall, ice skating, flow rider, etc.

 

I also believe the RC ships do give you more storage room to in your stateroom.

 

You know, many people rave about "free style" but all cruise lines have it now they just call it something different such as my time dining.

 

We have taken our last NCL cruise and will not go back.

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I am 50 and just got off my 52nd cruise last week. Yes, the Grandeur is older but refurbished and updated less than two years ago.

 

I took the Breakaway to Bermuda and my other half and father in law and myself agree, it was our worst ship we ever been on!

I give you some ideas what we didn't like but I must say, I definitely would have two staterooms (2 bathrooms to) than one, NCL nickels and dimes you all the way.....the Breakaway is a much much larger ship with "too many people"for her layout and size and she is a rocky ship, we never had such a rocky cruise (good weather) coming back from Bermuda to NY and we were told it was normal.

 

I have taken NCL throughout the years 4 times before the Breakaway, each time coming back saying I won't go again on NCL, but after a few years we gave it a try thinking it has gotten better and found it hasn't, the Breakaway was our VERY LAST NCL cruise we ever take.

 

There are too many negatives...ship felt overcrowded, the pool area was very tight and everybody looked like a can of sardines in that tiny pool. The buffets were just ok RC are much much better in quality/selection and variety. I have to be gluten free and dairy free I barely had anything but some salad, tomatoes and handful of potatoes or rice for lunch. NCL did not have a meat carving daily at the buffet. The staff sometimes had difficulty understanding english and overall we did not have that pleasant friendly atmosphere from them as we always have from RC. There were so many other negatives to this ship that I chose to just forget and never go back on. Its like I said, our worst ship we ever been on.

 

We did enjoy Bermuda a lot, but we hated docking there for two and half days, you only need a day to see it actually but I don't regret seeing Bermuda at all.

 

You didn't mention the ages of your children but considering you have children, I would choose two rooms for sure. You get what you pay for....I think a smaller ship with so many less passengers would be best since you have children to. The Grandeur is very easily naviaged and RC is my favorite cruise line.

 

The smaller ships on the NCL line seem to be more better than the Breakway.

 

Nassau is just ok not my favorite by any means but you can get day passes to a hotel to use their facilities (pool beach etc) but remember, its the ship that counts. I do believe the Grandeur also goes to one of their out islands, perhaps Coco Cay love it there!!!

 

Just goes to show you how people feel differently..my friend Roy went on the Breakaway last June and LOVED it! And he & wife are Emerald on RCI ..this poster does NOT mention the 2 things that made his cruise great- dining & entertainment....also done Celebrity & Princess..he said the shows & food on the Breakaway BLEW all on RCI away..service was fine...he RAVED about the NCL ship..this guy is a pain about everything...he said ALL the specialty dining venues were A- A+...and the pool deck is perfect for kids...IMO, compared to the Breakaway, the Grandeur is way over it's head, especially for kids....

 

Big Al

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Thanks for the reply everyone.

 

 

 

The kids are 7 and 1. I was thinking the Breakaway would have more activities for my 7 years old to do as compare to the Grandeur. 2 bathroom would be nice, but I think the kids are young enough where I don't think it matters whether we have one or 2. Though, probably because of the layout of the cabins, the interior cabin for RCCL seems to feel larger than an NCL interior.

 

 

 

Some of the things you mentioned are also the reasons why I didn't particularly enjoy the NCL Dawn. It seems the buffet had limited selection, and the quality of the ingredient at the complimentary restaurants seems to be lacking, portion are also smaller, and the waiting staff at the restaurants seems to be indifferent. Based on what you said, it doesn't sound like it is much better with the Breakaway as compare to the Dawn.

 

It is too bad that the Explorer charges more than the Breakaway going to Bermuda. If so, I don't think the decision would be as tough, as I would have just switch my Grandeur booking to a reservation at the Explorer.

 

I toured the Breakaway and the buffet area was terrific..MUCH bigger & better than a Vision Class ship..and your 7 yr. old would love dining in Teppanyaki, the Japanese Steakhouse where the chefs put on a great show for the kids..plus he would love all the slides, and the Cirque-de-soleil show my friend said was fantastic..I have been on the Enchantment, and while she was nice, we were both bored to death on her after cruising the Freedom & Voyager class..I have done 12 RCI cruises & 5 NCL..all 5 NCL were terrific..I am currently looking at the Getaway or the newer Escape after our Oasis cruise in Oct...BTW, the Waterfront concept of dining OUTSIDE overlooking the sea is fantastic, simply fantastic! We had a drink out there on our tour and I could only imagine how beautiful it would be at sea...O'Sheehan's 24 hour Irish Pub is also a great idea..my friend Roy & wife said it was great in there, especially the FREE food including wings & fish & chips...if you want to get some comparison reviews, put this post on the NCL thread...many there have done RCI and will you what they think...comparing a 76,000 ton old ship to a new 146,000 ton new ship with 22 dining venues, fabulous shows, great pool deck for kids is not fair...go & put this post on NCL and be fair...

 

 

Big Al

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Bermuda in May is not very warm and neither is the water

not sure I would want to book that with kids

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They all do when they have added choices.

 

Agreed. don't find that five and dime list any worse then some things that Royal does. This IS becoming the new of cruising so we all need the see, some things we like, that used to be included, will not anymore. Like I've always said, if you like the base cruise with no perks or extra fee options, all's good then.;)

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Interesting thread. I appreciate all the detailed feedback on this one as I looked pretty hard at the Breakaway as an alternative after our Grandeur cruise was cancelled last year due to the fire. I'm glad I didn't book it. Everyone has things that are important to them and some of the points made by lyndamr resonate pretty hard with me.

 

I don't do specialty dining and I expect my dining experience to be positive regardless of that fact. I don't mind rocking when the ship is underway, but if it's excessive, I get unsettled and I don't want to spend my cruise lying down enduring a crossing. Although I loved my Pride of America cruise, I found the pool inhospitable (I felt like I was climbing down into a pit) and there were far too few deck chairs for the amount of area that was available for them, consequently I had very little opportunity to the pool deck. And the pool deck is one of my favorite places to just hang out and relax.

 

It doesn't sound like the Breakaway is for me, despite the fact that it is one of the "drive-to" options from Ohio.

 

Good luck with your choice William. And whatever you decide, I hope you have a wonderful cruise.

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BigAl- My sister in law has cruised from NY on NCL ships and went on the Epic, she said the Breakaway was her least liked NCL ship for many reasons, mostly what I have mentioned, but mostly this freestyle dining is why she likes it, but I don't get it because every cruise line has dining choices and they have it where you can eat dinner in the MDR anytime you want they just call it something different than "freestyle dining"...the terminology freestyle dining was in the past it is no longer as every cruise line offers it to.

 

I would think that food is important to the OP, not sure about entertainment bringing a 1 year old and a 7 year old (which normally they don't want to sit still can't blame them and they don't understand the shows anyways or even want to be there) would be on the important list to this OP.

Anybody that needs to be gluten free past 10 pm the only thing to eat is at O'Sheehans which are french fries, they cut down the menu to a few items, fish and chips, burgers that have filler, hot dogs, french fries and breaded chicken wings. I am sorry but the buffet in RC exceeds the Breakaways, offering more choices better variety/quality/selection but trust me you won't starve on the Breakaway...I rate the Breakaways lunch definitely under RC.

 

The Breakaway shows did not blow me away at all....they were on par with RC shows. Breakaway offered Rock of Ages where RC has Hairspray, Saturday Night Fever, Mamma Mia or Chicago (depending upon the ship) which are top rated broadway shows so I have to say your incorrect about the Breakaway shows "blowing away RC's". RC has the ice skating show which always was my favorite and excellent overall, the Breakaway has Cirque du Soleil which was very nice but it was too long lasting, that guy with the hoops just went on forever, and a few other parts of the show "lingered to long", the food really was horrible and if you don't get the premium seats expect to sit in the back and have people in front of you blocking your view a little bit and the columns from the ceilings to the floor to. That show should be offered for free and the dinner taken away. Again,not sure whether entertainment is priority for the OP.

 

I do have to agree the Enchantment of the Seas is a smaller ship offers less and is used only for short cruises, that is the only RC ship that I would say is limited to everything but the OP isn't considering the Enchantment so its not an issue.

 

All cruise ships now have a pool area with slides for the kids so the Breakaway is not offering anything different in that area.

 

90% of ships now offer specialty dining and they all are good to excellent, but I never had bad experience on RC specialty dining restaurants. (We usually go 4-5 nights at specialty dining restaurants on week long cruises) I have to say RC specialty dining is nearly on par with NCL, but on the Breakaway I ran into "negatives" at three of the dining establishments...again, this may not be a concern for the OP as she may only choose to go to the MDR.

 

I am very picky myself, heck, I am 50 years old been on 52 cruises so far I compare cruise ships, cruise lines, food, layout ship, staff, service and entertainment.

 

EmeraldCity hello- Trust me, we not going back on NCL they had my last chance and blew it totally. lol

 

OP whatever you decide you have a wonderful cruise, any cruise is better than no cruise but I personally like to have the better. :D

Edited by lyndamr

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OP-one other thought. Did you ask the same question over at the NCL board?? Take both sides of the story and find the middle ground!!;)

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Was on breakaway last july all none RCCL people love her. All RCCL people and me hated her. If you never been on a RCCL ship go on breakaway you will have the time of your life but if you been on a RCCL or DCL ship go on grander.

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Actually what your saying basically is the norm...but I have been on many cruise lines so many ships and I am being very honest and able to compare things...I been on 52 cruises so far and I call myself the cruise and food critic of cruise lines. lol

 

Prior to my going on the Breakaway I was very open minded as I read people's reviews talking about how they didn't like many aspects of the ship (pool way too small, buffets limited, ship rocks, she felt packed and crowded, small balconies, unfriendly staff, narrow hallways, etc). The main issue that worried me the most was the food issue, unfriendly staff and feeling crowded, as far as smaller balcony I don't use it much its not an issue...the small pool I don't even use ships pools....narrow hallway not issue for me. I went with an open mind saying how nice it will be to go on a brand new ship again....that this ship is larger must be better and looked so much forward to the specialty dining to compare to other cruise lines. Honestly, I was disappointed, so was my other half and my father in law. We had a wonderful cruise as any cruise is better than no cruise and we went with other family members but when it came to the staff not friendly, bartenders kept asking us over and over what we ordered and many times we got wrong drinks, we only saw our cabin steward once in the hallway and never got a hello from him (no extra tip for sure), there were "traffic jams" many times on this ship in so many places and just a huge crowd all around, not mentioning the buffets were not good well....it really showed me the quality NCL is giving compared to other cruise lines.

 

If you blindfolded me on a RC ship and the Breakaway I would pick out NCL being the one I least liked.

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I have not been on either ship however I have been to Bermuda in May. Unfortunately it was very windy and rained the entire time we where there. Temps were not warm at all. I have just booked Grandeur for a Thanksgiving cruise......must be crazy to cruise at that time.....but only time my grandaughter could get off college. :)

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