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sid_9169

Breakaway / Live (*) / Solo - Feb-07-17-2019...

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In the beginning... Before the Getaway, Escape, or Bliss, there was the Breakaway. It was the first of a new class of ship for Norwegian Cruise Line. It went boldly, where no other NCL ship had before. On the first day, Kevin Sheehan said "Let them have a deck close to, and overlooking the water" and the Waterfront was born... A new innovative concept that would shape all of the new ships to follow. It was also the first NCL ship to feature Ocean Blue, by Geoffrey Zakarian, an all new dining concept at sea. The hull art was done by Peter Max, and featured the New York City skyline. In a way, this will be like a little trip back in time for me. My first NCL sailing was upon the Getaway back in May of 2015. Since then, I've sailed her 3 times, followed by 4 times on the Escape and once on the Bliss... (There was also that one time visit on the Epic, and I believe that once was enough.) 

 

When I found out that the Breakaway was going to be doing 10 and 11 night sailings out of New Orleans, I became interested in "going back" and conquering the original away class ship. I placed a deposit back in December of 2017, and pretty much put it on the back burner, as I had other sailings booked on both Carnival and Norwegian to complete beforehand. In February of 2018, I decided to contact a travel agent and inquire upon any specials that they may have for my particular week. They sent me an offer for the exact same base price, however this included the UBP and a 5 night SDP with NO FREE AT SEA GRATUITIES!!!... I immediately placed a deposit with them and cancelled my original reservation. This is my first time ever booking with an outside agent, but I ended up saving a few hundred dollars for little or no effort.

 

***This photo stolen from the NCL Facebook page...
 

 

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Edited by sid_9169
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Fast forward to December of 2018... I had just returned from sailing the Bliss only a few short weeks prior, when I was suddenly laid off from my job right before Christmas weekend. My entire life was now in question, but I was only 48 days from sailing the Breakaway, and would lose all my money if I backed out now. (Not to mention the nonrefundable hotel room and flights that I had already booked.) Life has a way of just really beating you down sometimes... My entire existence was pretty much knocked back to "square zero"... Needless to say, I really needed to get my s#!t together, and fast. 

 

In addition to all of that, months prior, I had booked the 10:40 am outgoing flight on debarkation day, but with the government shutdown, it seemed a bit tight... (*Getting up at the butt-crack of dawn, to try and be one of the first ones off the ship and clear customs. Then, a possible TSA nightmare once I reached the airport.) At 16 days before sailing, I decided to opt for a later return flight, because the entire situation seemed to be in limbo for the foreseeable future. I called Delta, and they said it would be close to $200 in additional fees this close to travel. I asked if that was their final offer, and after several minutes on hold, they ended up charging me $94 in change fees. I really didn't want to do it, but better to be safe than sorry.
 

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Now fast forward to mid-January... (Well, now rewind) That's when the "new" adult beverage menus were rolled out, featuring vastly higher prices for anything worth drinking, liquorwise... Also introduced, was the new "Premium Plus Beverage Package" for $29 per day / per person, (Plus 20% gratuity, of course) over and above the UBP... Now, I have some hard, and expensive decisions to make... I like to drink "the good stuff" all of which has been raised to wayyy over the $15 per drink limit. A cursory bit of arithmetic brings my additional cost to $348.00 ($29 + 20% = $34.80 / day X 10 days = $348.00, for those in Rio Linda) That's a good bit of "ching" that I am gonna have to absorb, in addition to the flight change fee, I'm looking at close to $450... Add in Vibe, and now I'm at $609 just in "additional fees" for the week. Did I mention earlier how I just lost my job on Christmas Eve weekend? Anyhoo, you only live once, you know?... 

 

Shortly after my Bliss sailing, I had decided that there would be no "Live Review" from the Breakaway... (Thus, the asterisk in the title of the thread) Mostly due to the slow upload speeds I experienced on the Bliss, but now with the loss of my job (and the $300 plus dollar price tag for internet) I have compromised with a "Before & After" version... In fact, with the loss of the Cruise Critic app, my "Live Review" days are likely over. It was just wayyy too frustrating trying to upload to the new "improved" site with the ship WiFi... I may, however use my Verizon "Travel Pass" while in Cozumel and Grand Cayman to give some updates on the 7th day of the sailing... (These two ports seem to have the best mobile data speeds of all the Caribbean countries that I've tried) 
 

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I decided to call NCL at 12 days prior to sailing, and inquire on this new premium plus beverage package and found out that it would not be available on the Breakaway until February 17th (the cruise directly following mine) So, now I'm going to be stuck paying "al la carte" for anything of decent quality... We're talking $6 to $12 additional PER DRINK! I think that my plan is to drink "included" items about half the time, and have "special treat" drinks the other half, so as not to totally bust my budget. It seems that NCL has placed a circular firing squad completely around my wallet...

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Hi Wilson!

I jump on here every few days to see what's going on.  I am especially looking for my Roll Call.  I started one, but apparently CC is having problems adding "New Roll Calls" and refer you to "Old School" Roll Call.  I am not sure what that means, nor do I care.  I am just hoping it will magically appear someday.  This new site ROCKS!  LOL!

Anyway, I can't believe your cruise crept up this quick (for me anyway)!  I will personally miss your real-time review, but totally get it. 

The increase in UBP (add-on) was a punch in the throat to everyone...

Enjoy your cruise.  That is the main thing.  Post when you can, and I am sure all of your followers will understand/agree with me.

Yup...Life is crazy.

Since you will not be posting "live", you will have a ton of free time on your hands.  My suggestions are:

1.  Take the bread out of the mouths of Orphans in Honduras at the buffet and demand they leave.

2.  Kick the drug-sniffing dog(s) if/when they sniff you. 

That would make an awesome review!  Did you go to the brink for any of the above?!  Report back.  LOL!

Simply enjoy and safe travels 🙂

Following...

🍹👍

 

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5 minutes ago, OceanBlueWaters said:

Hi Wilson!

I jump on here every few days to see what's going on.  I am especially looking for my Roll Call.  I started one, but apparently CC is having problems adding "New Roll Calls" and refer you to "Old School" Roll Call.  I am not sure what that means, nor do I care.  I am just hoping it will magically appear someday.  This new site ROCKS!  LOL!

Anyway, I can't believe your cruise crept up this quick (for me anyway)!  I will personally miss your real-time review, but totally get it. 

The increase in UBP (add-on) was a punch in the throat to everyone...

Enjoy your cruise.  That is the main thing.  Post when you can, and I am sure all of your followers will understand/agree with me.

Yup...Life is crazy.

Since you will not be posting "live", you will have a ton of free time on your hands.  My suggestions are:

1.  Take the bread out of the mouths of Orphans in Honduras at the buffet and demand they leave.

2.  Kick the drug-sniffing dog(s) if/when they sniff you. 

That would make an awesome review!  Did you go to the brink for any of the above?!  Report back.  LOL!

Simply enjoy and safe travels 🙂

Following...

🍹👍

 

Thanks for tuning in, OceanBlueWaters... Yes, the new improved site is really swell indeed... I will try to come through with something interesting nonetheless...

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Since I'm unable to give you all the "full Monty" of a live review, I figured I would at least try and give you a bit of "added value" with a little bit from my hometown here in Atlanta... I guess y'all know we had a little sports game here recently known as the Super Bowl. I took the train downtown on Saturday to see if I could get right in the middle of the action. I'll try and convey to you my complete journey.

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We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for pre cruise laundry...

 

 

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I headed out around noon to insert myself at ground zero of the Super Bowl hoopla... I wanted to get my hands on a limited edition Marta breeze card, so while in my embarkation station, mission accomplished.

 

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My new breeze card in hand, I headed down to the Peachtree Center station, and made my way towards the action. This station was built around forty years ago, along with the main North South line of the Marta rail. It a couple of hundred feet under ground, and they literally had to blast out solid granite to build the station.

 

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At the time it was built, this escalator was the longest in the world.

 

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I headed West on foot towards Centennial Olympic Park, which was especially built as the center piece for, surprise, the 1996 Olympics. When it was under construction in the early 90's, my mom surprised me and my sister with commemorative bricks that form the entire floor of the park. There are literally hundreds of thousands of these bricks, but I know exactly where mine is located, because it's right next to one of the giant poles that encircle the area. Also, the secret service has about 100 commemorative bricks right next to where mine is located. 

 

As my luck would have it, there was a media truck parked right on top of my brick. I mean the tire was directly on top of it. This was to be part of my Atlanta tour, but it was not to be. Hopefully this wouldn't be an omen for the rest of my day.

 

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Here's a picture of the replica brick that I received as part of the package. I keep it in a special place in my home. ***Note: normally I would be afraid of identity fraud, but I've had a security freeze on my credit reports since 2008... 

 

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And here's the ferris wheel across the street from Centennial Olympic Park. I've never ridden it...

 

 

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Sucks that they gave you such horrible news right before Christmas. 

 

Have a great cruise. 

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So, now I wanted to get some photos of our new billion dollar state of the art sports arena, Mercedes Benz field... I've never actually been to a game or anything else down there, as I'm not really a sports fan in general. Especially since the Falcons got embarrassed by the Patriots in the Superbowl a couple of years ago. I walked past the aquarium and went over the Jackson Street bridge to try and get a photo from afar.

 

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I decided that it wasn't a great picture, due to the ugly roof of the world congress center roof in the foreground. I continued over the bridge and around the other side of the stadium. The only problem was that they had placed a security zone around the entire area. You couldn't get within a thousand feet of it in any direction. I had walked around four miles at this point, and ended up having to turn around and go all the way back in the direction that I had already walked. 

 

I finally made it back around to the center of the action near the basketball arena, formerly Phillips Arena, but now apparently called State Farm Arena... (I guess you've figured out by now that I'm really not a sports guy) 

 

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Now I could finally see Mercedes Benz stadium from the other side, and much closer. My feet were really getting tired by now, but I'd come all this way for a reason, and I'll be damned if I wasn't going to get this shot.

 

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By this point, I was worried about getting blisters on my feet so close to my vacation. I knew that I'd be walking several miles in New Orleans in a few days, and didn't want to ruin my time there. I stopped for awhile and just took in the scene, and contemplated my next move. I wanted to get more photos, so I just trudged onwards. 

 

I passed the home of "fake news" headquarters, and secretly hated my Atlanta upbringing...

 

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Then I just kept walking, and hoping that my feet would survive. I normally walk about 2 or 3 miles every day after work, but I was now at about the 10 mile mark. I still had at least a mile to go just to get to the nearest Marta station, but I still had shots I wanted to get, so I just kept going...

 

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And then I walked some more...

 

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I came across a pile of the new scourge of Atlanta, these damn scooters. They're EVERYWHERE!!!...

 

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Feet now starting to really hurt, I continued...

 

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I needed to sit down for a minute, so I stopped at the Marriott Marquis... This hotel has a grand atrium that goes up over forty floors... It's pretty cool on the inside and out. I got kicked out of here once in the 90's for hanging out over the ledge a couple of hundred feet above the lobby... They also have a cool fountain out front of the entrance.IMG_20190202_154928584.thumb.jpg.a10254862db4de8a961c70fe54cebf32.jpg

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I decided to move on now and walk even more. There's a place in the basement of the Hilton that has been around pretty much my entire life that I've never visited. I walked some more...

 

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Now I'd finally come all this way on foot. I hadn't even had a sip of water or anything to eat since I left on this journey. I have heard about this tiki bar called Trader Vic's that's been around since forever, yet in all my life, I'd never been there. Till today... This place basically transports you all the way back to the 70's or so. We're talking authentic crazy kitsch here. 

 

I believe this is one of, or possibly the only one of these places left. It claims to be the birth place of the original Mai Tai... I entered right when they opened, and was the first customer of the day. Of course, I had to see what the hype was with this famous drink... The bartender, I forgot his name, except that he was from Serbia. I placed my order, and was soon enjoying the mystical and world famous libation...

 

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Among the surroundings that can only be described as, well I don't even know...

 

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I am not a football fan.  They are overpaid idiots with attitudes (along with other professional athletes). I didn't watch the BIG GAME" cuz that is just me. 

But still following. 🙂

 

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Well I haven't come all this way for just one drink, and I hadn't eaten anything all day, so I ordered the pupu platter which consisted of fried shrimp, pork, crab rangoons, and bbq ribs... And, of course another drink, this time the Zombie...IMG_20190202_171716722.thumb.jpg.c053be0d3ebd4da9ecb5c0133cbe4304.jpg

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By this time I'm feeling pretty good. These are not what I would consider "weak drinks" in fact, they were pretty damn boozy. I hadn't come this far for only two adult beverages, so I asked the bartender what I should have next. He said the Navy Grog should top me off nicely, so I went with that...

 

 

 

 

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Edited by sid_9169

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So, at this point I'm feeling pretty good, and I started walking back towards the Marta station. I made it in about ten or twelve minutes, and was waiting on the train when an announcement came over the speakers. "We're experiencing delays due to a fire at the Brookhaven station" ... Great... Now I would wait about a half hour or so before the the next train came, while enjoying the free entertainment in the subway station, which consists of mostly homeless people harassing everyone. Finally the train showed up, and it was packed to the gills with humanity, but I managed to squeeze myself in there somehow. 

 

My feet were tired. I was close to drunk, and I still had to walk another mile once I got off the train just to get to my car. I got the shots I wanted, and aside from the media truck being parked on my brick, the day was a success...

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