Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
nyfltraveler

Review 8/23-8/30 NCL Breakaway Sailing

Recommended Posts

Just returned from the 8/23-8/30 sailing of the NCL Breakaway. As I found other pre-trip reviews helpful, I hope that I can provide insight for a future cruiser.

 

For a frame of reference, we were 2 adults and 2 children (both children under 8 years old).

 

NYC Boarding

 

Arrived at the Pier around 10:15am..... Dropped off the luggage and went through the check-in process... We were onboard a little 11:30. Suggestion is to have all of your paperwork and credit card ready.... makes the check-in process that much smoother.

 

Once on-board the room was ready so we dropped our bags in the room and grabbed lunch in the Garden Cafe (buffet). I suggest packing what you need for the first afternoon (bathing suits, etc) in a carry-on as the checked luggage didn't arrive until 5pm or so.

 

Room

 

We booked a "mini-suite" on deck 14. I understand why they use the term "mini". The room was smaller than expected and the balcony was tiny. Given that we were 4 people, we used the bed, fold out couch and the ceiling opened up to another (upper) bed. The bathroom was surprisingly large. Large stall shower, double sink and enough room to move around. Another note, the hallways where the rooms are located are extremely narrow.

 

Staff

 

Generally the staff was extremely helpful and very polite. Even walking the halls and the ship itself you would always get a "hello", "good morning" etc. The staff in the restaurants would also aim to please.

 

With that being said, our cabin Steward was extremely disappointing. From the day we arrived until we left we saw him 3 times at most whereas the stewards assigned to the cabins in our vicinity were much more conspicuous. Also, when we got to our room initially, while the room was made-up, trash from the prior week's passengers (including tissues and an empty box of cigarettes) remained in the trash can.

 

Food

 

As part of our booking, we received the Ultimate Dining Plan (UDP) which entitled us to dine in a "specialty restaurant" for our dinners. As a result, we did not have dinners in the buffet or the regular dining room (Manhattan, Taste or Savor) and therefore cannot speak to that. While I will get into the restaurants momentarily, I would say that if I had to do it again, I would not get the UDP but rather would pick and choose the specialty restaurants to do 2-3x at most.

 

We always had our breakfasts in the Garden Cafe (buffet). The food was fresh, tasty and the selection was plentiful. If you had any questions or concerns about ingredients, the staff was always able to provide information on the ingredients in specific foods.

 

For lunch (while on the ship) we alternated between the Garden Cafe and the Uptown Grill. Again, the selection at the buffet for lunch was vast and the food was generally good. At the Garden Cafe you can get burgers made to order and salads. You need to be patient as this area gets crowded and it can take 15-20 minutes to get your food once you place your order. The burgers were large and flavorful although I would suggest not getting the bun as it makes the meal even heavier. The burgers are served with waffle fries. The create your own salad was also popular at this restaurant. One day, to change things around, we had lunch in the Savor dining room. You choose from items on the menu which changes daily. The day we dined there, I had an asian noodle soup which was very good and a meatball hero which was average.

 

We had dinner at the following restaurants: Teppanyaki, La Cucina, Cagneys and Moderno. Aside from the extremely loud atmosphere, Teppanyaki was surprisingly good - on par (or slightly better) than your local Benihana or hibachi restaurant. La Cucina was downright awful and really should not be a UDP restaurant with an uncharge. The food and atmosphere made it feel like you were at an Olive Garden. One night we dined at Moderno which was a Brazilian churrascaria. The food and service here was disappointing too. The selection was limited and they forgot to bring by a number of the items. I would avoid this restaurant. That leads us to Cagney's steakhouse where we wound up dining at 4 times. The food was generally good as was the service. I had the bone-in ribeye, a NY Strip Steak once and a porterhouse. The porterhouse was the best of the cuts but all of the steaks were good (tender, juicy, etc). The oreo cheese cake was a popular dessert at Cagney's.

 

The children dined with us at Teppanyaki and La Cucina; otherwise we would take the kids to either the buffet, O'Sheahans Bar/Grill or Shanghai Noodle Bar before they participated in the Splash Academy camp in the evenings. O'Sheahans had typical pub food (burgers, fish/chips, chicken fingers, etc). It was fine. I was disappointed in the quality of the food at Shanghai's. It essentially was the same food served at the Asian station at the buffet.

 

At night, the buffet was open with late night snacks and dessert (including soft serve and hard ice cream)

 

Activities/Entertainment

 

There were plenty of activities by day/night, from bingo to a ropes course, rock climbing wall, water slides, trivia and the like.

 

Entertainment-wise, we saw the shows Burn the Floor (similar to a dancing with the stars episode) and Rock of Ages. Both were pretty good. In fact, having seen Rock of Ages on Broadway, the performance on the ship was as good, if not better.

 

We did go see the "second city" improv show at the Headliners Comedy Club. I did not find it funny at all.

 

At night you have various lounges with piano players, singers, etc. depending on the genre you preferred. The one female singer who played in the atrium lounge was excellent.

 

Given that we were traveling with young children we did not partake in the late night activities such as the Spice 2-0 parties although we did stop by the "glow party"

 

Bermuda

 

We left the ship on Wednesday and Thursday in Bermuda. On Wednesday we travelled via taxi to a private beachside resort and spent the day there ; on Thursday we took the ferry ($5 per person each way) to Hamilton for lunch. The weather was extremely hot both days.

 

Splash (Kids) Academy

 

The children participated in the Splash Academy. This was a well-run operation which the children enjoyed immensely. The camp is split up by age group, under 3, 3-5, 5-9, 10-12...... The counselors have activities tailored to the age groups, whether its arts/crafts, movie time, organized sports etc. The camp was generally open 9-12, 2-5 and 6-10:30. The camp remained open from 10:30p-1:30a at an extra cost per camper. The highlight of the camp is that all of the campers participate in a show in the main theatre on the last full cruise day. This show, I must say, was the best show on the ship. The kids get really into it and it puts a smile on a parent's face seeing them perform. Hats off to the camp staff.

 

General Observations/Comments

 

There were a wide array of people on this ship, although I would say at least 70% came from the New York/New Jersey area.

 

I still cannot understand how some people get on the ship and drink non-stop until the very end. Spending thousands of dollars to be drunk is not my definition of a vacation..... and I saw people drinking at early as 7:30am ---many of these people with children.

 

I would prefer that NCL made the entire ship non-smoking. Besides the fact that this is a family ship and people should not expose children to smoke or smoking, even though there are designated smoking areas, the smokers did not respect this....

 

I definitely suggest the Vibe Beach Club if you are able to get passes; much more quiet, relaxing and humane. It is a zoo by the main pool area (and the pools and pool area are actually very small).

 

The casino was your typical cruise ship casino, slot machines and table games (blackjack, craps, roulette, hold em) .....

 

The cruise director and his staff were pleasant and were not "in your face" like I have seen on other ships in the past.

 

The public spaces of the ship were always clean and fresh looking. The crew (of approximately 1600) are well trained and take pride in their work.

 

The charges add up quickly and while you think that your fare gives you an "all inclusive" trip, there are still expenditures you need to budget for.

 

While the initial forecast was iffy at the time of sailing, in fact the weather (with the exception of a 10 minute rain shower) was hot and sunny throughout and the seas were relatively smooth to and from Bermuda.

 

Finally, be certain to return to the ship in plenty of time on the last port day. At least two passengers missed the boat (literally) and the ship left Bermuda without them.

 

All in all, NCL makes the week at sea a pleasant experience and while the trip is certainly not inexpensive, if you think about it, for a couple hundred dollars per person per day, you do get value (room, meals, entertainment, etc).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP--thanks for taking the time to post your review !! I appreciate it..:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're welcome for the review. I am not going to get into a back and forth on the other item, that was not why I posted. While perhaps I should have said I observed - in any event, I can care less what others do, as I said, to each his/her own.

 

The point of my post was to provide a review which included my experience and observations.

 

if anybody has individual questions regarding the cruise experience feel free to send a private message.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the review,nyfltraveler.

My DH and I will be on the Breakaway in a few weeks.

We sailed on NCL once about 15 years ago,and anticipate some changes on NCL from then until now.

We are also in a mini suite on deck11. We assumed that stateroom category would have more room for the two of us than a balcony cabin.

We have sailed mainly on Princess -Platinum level by now,and we are used to the Princess cruise experience. We have also sailed with Cunard and Celebrity.

After reading several reviews and posts about the Breakaway, I am concerned that the cruse will be a pleasant one for us. I have read much about crowding near the pools, extra charges, disappointment in the specialty dining rooms and heavy drinking.

We chose the ship because it leaves from a nearby port and it sails to Bermuda,a place we truly love.

With the thought that a cruise vacation is what a person makes of it,we are looking forward to our vacation.

We will keep in mind what others have reported,but we will have an open mind concerning our experiences on the Breakaway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
. . .

 

 

 

We did go see the "second city" improv show at the Headliners Comedy Club. I did not find it funny at all.

 

Agreed. We used to LOVE The Second City shows but on the last few cruises they were just "eh". We cruised with 2 who were new to Second City and they weren't impressed at all. Is it possible they used to be funnier? :eek:

 

 

. . .

 

I would prefer that NCL made the entire ship non-smoking. . . even though there are designated smoking areas, the smokers did not respect this....

 

 

Yes, including our neighbors. Even though I want to think that some people just don't know, tiny tiny font in the Freestyle Daily is NOT SUFFICIENT to communicate that no smoking is permitted except in a few designated areas. I am so disappointed how NCL handles (or does not handle) this. I don't want to be the smoking police on a cruise.

 

Edited by mizlorinj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I loved the review, thanks so much. Sorry about the smoking though. I was on the BA the week of July 4th, in 2013 and I really don't remember a lot of people smoking on the ship.

 

Agree with you about the mini suite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your review. You wrote as you experienced it and saw it, after all it is your review. We were on Breakaway two years ago and going on her again next year. Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the positive feedback, as you said I reported as I saw it. It doesn't mean that somebody else on the same sailing did not have another perspective. I enjoy reading the reviews to get various takes on a similar experience.

 

If anybody has specific questions, feel free to ask.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One other item I will point out is that I heard a woman complaining that there was nothing for her 15 yr old to do on the ship. I do not know if that is accurate, however at night I saw many teenagers (14-18) loitering/sitting in the stairwells.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I still cannot understand how some people get on the ship and drink non-stop until the very end

 

Different strokes for different folks. However people choose to spend THEIR vacation, is up to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Different strokes for different folks. However people choose to spend THEIR vacation, is up to them.

 

Agree 100% until it comes to the point that the actions of passengers (whether its based on intoxication, people just being plain old obnoxious or otherwise) becomes more than an annoyance and interferes with the vacation of others.

Edited by nyfltraveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ Agreed, but you didn't say that.. all you said was

 

I still cannot understand how some people get on the ship and drink non-stop until the very end

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a judgment, not an opinion.

 

Other than your thinking people shouldn't drink early, all day or if they have children, did you experience any specific problems related to others' drinking? That would be worth reporting. Otherwise, it's just a judgement about others.

Edited by conandrob240

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you read my other posts I said to each his/her own.... I am nevertheless entitled to my opinion..........

 

Sorry I didn't have time to seek out all your posts :rolleyes::rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is a judgment, not an opinion.

 

Other than your thinking people shouldn't drink early, all day or if they have children, did you experience any specific problems related to others' drinking? That would be worth reporting. Otherwise, it's just a judgement about others.

 

Spot on! :D:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for your very good review...especially the excellent information on the food. :):):):)

 

You are welcome. I wish others would focus on the review and not the personal attacks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is a judgment, not an opinion.

 

Other than your thinking people shouldn't drink early, all day or if they have children, did you experience any specific problems related to others' drinking? That would be worth reporting. Otherwise, it's just a judgement about others.

 

 

judgment

 

noun judg·ment \ˈjəj-mənt\

 

: an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought

 

*****as per Webster

 

 

 

 

Glad you cleared that up.;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another helpful hint....... The surface of pool decks (by pools and in Vibe) get extremely hot. Do not walk barefoot.

 

I forgot about that, but you are right, those decks do get very warm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • NCL Sail-Away Giveaway Sweepstakes - Win a 7-Day Cruise on Norwegian Joy!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...