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AdoraBelle

What is going on with Breakaway? So many bad reviews.

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As far as disembarkation goes, we were on Escape (NYC) in October (fall break), and it was a nightmare.  Our group got separated (DH and SIL had the kids LOL) and until we finally saw each other near the exit, we weren't sure if the others were in line, or what was going on.  

I think a lot of the issues have to do with people not following the instructions to wait till their zone is called.  

Same thing happened on the Magic (Port Canaveral) a couple of years ago in February.  Utter chaos--you couldn't even get off the elevator on Deck 3 because people were packed like sardines waiting to disembark.  At that point, the crew members were just trying to get people in some semblance of lines to get them off the ship--nobody cared what zone you were supposed to be in.

Edited by keywest1
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We were on the Breakaway in January and had a great experience. The only frustrating parts were embarkation and disembarkation and we did wait until our color was called (toward the end). 

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5 minutes ago, Two_UW_Badgers said:

We were on the Breakaway in January and had a great experience. The only frustrating parts were embarkation and disembarkation and we did wait until our color was called (toward the end). 

I have seen reports of issues with embark/debark.  There is construction in the port area in NOLA.  We arrived early and missed the problems.

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19 minutes ago, davy jones said:

I have seen reports of issues with embark/debark.  There is construction in the port area in NOLA.  We arrived early and missed the problems.

Well we also arrived early (about 10am?) but were stuck in the Lyft drop off line. It was very inefficient. 

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2 hours ago, davy jones said:

We sailed BA twice in the last 15 months, once from NYC and once from NOLA.  Both cruises were fine.  It is not our favorite ship, but it is good.  

 

The issues that I see coming up in the reviews (and my experiences) are

1.  Odd layout with casino open to other passenger decks, hence smoke.  I agree that the layout is a bit odd and there can be a little smoke odor at times, but I may be less sensitive to smoke than some.  It is really not that bad.

2.  Odd layout with over use of atrium.  This is true.  Use the theater a lounge for trivia games and presentations.

3.  Reservations for shows and dining rooms.  Do your homework, or you may have to wait.

4.  Waiting for drinks.  I have never waited more than a few minutes.

5.  Nickle and diming.  That is a common belief across NCL.

6.  Service.  I find it to be fine across the mainstream cruise lines and NCL is no different.

 

We are sailing BA again this summer from MIA.  I am a little concerned about the effect of summer crowds, but otherwise expect to have a good time.  (We already have show and dining reservations.)

 

 

OP here. I'm a frequent NCL cruiser so I have no problem understanding and disregarding complaints 1-5. As far as service quality, I definitely don't need crew members to pretend to be my friend, bring me special requests, greet me by name, etc. I only called out the unhappy/understaffed trend in BA reviews, because once staffing problems become bad enough, it spills into every aspect of the cruise. 

 

General remark regarding "self-fulfilling prophecies"; I understand why people say this, and I've definitely seen people who are obviously living to complain about everything. But it's not a one-size-fits-all dismissal of possible problems, any more than 'food is subjective' is a legit dismissal of declining food quality. 

 

To put another way, ideally you can acknowledge problems without automatically being referred to as a sad pessimist. 

Edited by AdoraBelle

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We’ll be in Breakaway April 14th, abs I hope it’s as good as the last time. Honestly, I’ve never had a bad cruise, and crew are always pleasant if you respect them and treat them well. I’ve seen more rude passengers than rude crew members. I wonder what impact so many people having and wanting to get their money’s worth out of the beverage package will have on bar demand and passenger behavior.

 

Personally, I’m buying a sh’load of bottled water from NCL before the cruise, and bringing a lot of my own (good) wine and paying the corkage fee. That should alleviate some of the frustration waiting for water or a drink.

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1 hour ago, Two_UW_Badgers said:

Well we also arrived early (about 10am?) but were stuck in the Lyft drop off line. It was very inefficient. 

That is why I take a taxi, as they know the back way in and there was no waiting in any line.

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1 hour ago, AdoraBelle said:

 

OP here. I'm a frequent NCL cruiser so I have no problem understanding and disregarding complaints 1-5. As far as service quality, I definitely don't need crew members to pretend to be my friend, bring me special requests, greet me by name, etc. I only called out the unhappy/understaffed trend in BA reviews, because once staffing problems become bad enough, it spills into every aspect of the cruise. 

 

General remark regarding "self-fulfilling prophecies"; I understand why people say this, and I've definitely seen people who are obviously living to complain about everything. But it's not a one-size-fits-all dismissal of possible problems, any more than 'food is subjective' is a legit dismissal of declining food quality. 

 

To put another way, ideally you can acknowledge problems without automatically being referred to as a sad pessimist. 

 

I was on Breakaway last week ... woohoo ... let me say that again LOL ... I was on Breakaway last week. You've seen my thoughts in another thread and I too mentioned the crew's demeanor. It could just be a management issue on this particular ship at THIS particular time. One of the waiters told me they had a lot of new crew onboard so that could be an issue too. I know I talked to several crew members whose contract end date is in July which means they are in the dead middle of it and may be a bit burnt out without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet. Who knows? It could be a lot of different things.

 

I wouldn't worry about it at all. Go and have a good time. If you look for negative you will likely find it. However, if you stay positive about things even if some of the things are off then you'll still have a good time.

 

 

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17 hours ago, AdoraBelle said:

 

Yeah, I just read something (not sure if here or in the other cruise app) about what sounded like a nightmarish disembark from a recent Epic. (I know Epic’s been having other problems too.)

 

I cruised on Epic semi recently and found the staff to be some of the best I had encountered on NCL ships and I've cruised on getaway, escape and bliss. All were very personable and attentive. And that's not to say they aren't on the other ships. 

 

moral of the story: keep an open mind. 🙂 

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we leave on it Sunday......

my mantra is this...

 

I am on a cruise and will have a good time

I am on a cruise and will have a good time

I am on a cruise and will have a good time

 

one bad experience wont stop me from....... having a good time!!!!

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I cruised on the Breakaway earlier this month and did notice some of the complaints you mentioned.  Let me start by saying, this was my 6th time on the BA and have had nothing but great service on the previous 5.  :-)  The things I noticed were the more than usual wait times in Taste and Savor as well as a few of the bars.  The bars surprised me since my sailing had close to 1000 minors.  The wait staff did look miserable but I was able to get smiles out of my regulars by the end of the week.  Rumor has it that there was a lot of new staff on board, so I'm chalking it up to that.  Otherwise it was a great cruise.  Hope you have an awesome time.

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We go on Breakaway in 3 weeks. We have been on most of the newer ships. 

Sit at the bar for a while. See how some people treat the bartenders. We always tip $1 a drink, generally have outstanding service. But it is more than the tip. It is treating them like an equal, not a robot/beer slave. They like to chat too, and show off a little😁

Slugg, I expect to see you at Spice H2O on the 21st.

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19 hours ago, davy jones said:

 

1.  Odd layout with casino open to other passenger decks, hence smoke.  I agree that the layout is a bit odd and there can be a little smoke odor at times, but I may be less sensitive to smoke than some.  It is really not that bad.

 

We were on the Breakaway a while back- March 2017.    I remember looking down from the railing at the casino and thinking they did have the start of some walls around the area.  They could, if they wanted to, put up glass and keep the smoke more contained.   This is a "home office" decision not up to the on-board staff. 

We had some problems on the trip but I was very impressed by the fact that many officers showed up at the Cruise Critic event and asked us to please provide specific, detailed, actionable feedback in real time.   One of the things I most enjoy about cruising is being part of the "family" aboard during the voyage.    

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19 hours ago, RedRover96 said:

OK I admit because I have only in the past 6 years been on NCL and because of this I only visit the NCL CC board. However, if I was a betting man, if I visited the Carnival, Royal Caribbean and other "mainline" cruise boards I would probably find about the same level of criticism and people refusing to ever cruise again or switch to NCL.  Thoughts????

You're absolutely right.  We are booked on RCL for this summer so I have been following those boards as well and they have the same complaints, actually more (made me concerned as well).  We love NCL and wish they had a itinerary we wanted for our upcoming cruise but figured for the price we'd give RCL a try.  Hopefully that cruise will be as great as our NCL cruises have been.

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On 3/27/2019 at 9:33 PM, BirdTravels said:

Why is that? A maintenance issue? A medical emergency?

Have to take some posters with a grain of salt,.especially those cruisers who voice when they have never sailed a particular ship. .  

AS for us, we are going on our second Breakaway cruise in Oct. No, it isn't my favorite ship, but I am not a lover of mega ships period.  There are a lot of good things we like about the ship.  It is so easy to gripe or do a bad review but not as often do we see raving ones. We expect to have a good time so we often take it for granted, but when things don't go as planned we want to world o know..

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22 hours ago, AdoraBelle said:


I do understand the nature of online reviews generally, which is why I provided some minor comparison of Breakaway reviews to reviews coming off of GA, Escape, Bliss and Epic in the same time frame. Context and all that.

You also need to take into consideration how full a ship may have been when someone is griping. .Our experience on the Breakaway though not wonderful, was during spring break and of course things didn't run a s smoothly as we have hoped. when a ship has 2254 kids on it, everyone,s patience can get short, including the crew. Even with your attempt to be objective and do a  fair comparison it just ism't possible. I think you can see this from what we are reading here..

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19 hours ago, Two_UW_Badgers said:

Well we also arrived early (about 10am?) but were stuck in the Lyft drop off line. It was very inefficient. 

We walked from our hotel, so the construction did nor affect us.

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We sailed BA from NOLA at Thanksgiving.  Took a cab to the port -- and that took a good 45 minutes in the cab due to construction.  Once we got out of the cab, things went rather quickly and we were onboard in almost no time.  The ship is beautiful and well-maintained.  The service for the first few hours was excellent, but, once everyone was onboard, it went downhill and stayed that way for the rest of the week.  Bars were not properly staffed and drink orders took forever.  The waitstaff in most of the food venues were either aloof or downright rude.  Our room steward was very efficient and did a good job.  (You can search for my BA review if you want the long version!)

 

You shouldn't have to wait 20-30 minutes for a drink.  You shouldn't have to ask 3 times for iced tea at dinner.  You shouldn't have to demand what you paid for.  At least the decor and furnishings are nice.  We are booked on an NCL European cruise in May, so hopefully they will redeem themselves!

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59 minutes ago, mdsgu said:

We sailed BA from NOLA at Thanksgiving.  Took a cab to the port -- and that took a good 45 minutes in the cab due to construction.  Once we got out of the cab, things went rather quickly and we were onboard in almost no time.  The ship is beautiful and well-maintained.  The service for the first few hours was excellent, but, once everyone was onboard, it went downhill and stayed that way for the rest of the week.  Bars were not properly staffed and drink orders took forever.  The waitstaff in most of the food venues were either aloof or downright rude.  Our room steward was very efficient and did a good job.  (You can search for my BA review if you want the long version!)

 

You shouldn't have to wait 20-30 minutes for a drink.  You shouldn't have to ask 3 times for iced tea at dinner.  You shouldn't have to demand what you paid for.  At least the decor and furnishings are nice.  We are booked on an NCL European cruise in May, so hopefully they will redeem themselves!

 

Bolded part--this is a pet peeve of mine, when people inevitably say: "Well, did you talk to the hotel director about your problems?'

 

It's not my job to manage the staff while I'm on vacation. 

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Never had a bad cruise so I just assume these "bad" reviews are written by spammers or grumpsters. It's a frame of mind thing. There are a million worse places to be and it's amazing how friendly the staff is if you are friendly first 😉

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Not the Breakaway, but I was on the Epic exactly a month ago and everything was satisfactory. There were two minor errors in dinner service--one in the MDR and one in La Cucina--both easily corrected. I never had to wait for bar service, although I may not have been ordering at the peak times.

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We were on the Breakaway March 17-24...Yes, it was Spring Break, yes, most every cabin level was sold out, yes, there were a b.u.n.c.h. of adults and kids on board. 

We never saw any crew member acting grumpy or negatively. The crew was simply working their butts off the entire time.

We have been on multiple NCL Ships, mega ships and the smaller ships....this was the 1st time ever we experienced difficulty getting drinks. The weather on this cruise was not the best... it was cold when we left New Orleans, it was on the cold side a couple days and it rained a couple days too. This put a strain on the indoor venues... I really felt sorry for the bartenders. Usually there were 2 bartenders at each bar. The bar was stacked most of the time 3-5 people deep. Guests were yelling out orders at the bartenders. People were yelling "I'm next-I'm next"!! A bartender came to me, asked for my order, as I began to give my drink order, a lady next to me yelled at me, told me how much longer she had been in line then I had been, then yelled at the bartender about being in line. This happened multiple times. People really forgot their manners at the pier!!!   

 

One thing I noticed on this ship is that the bar servers on this ship didn't have access to the back of the bar to help themselves gather "easy" stuff like glasses of wine, beer or waters. Pretty much they were standing in line with the rest of us. The bartenders were taking heat from the wait staff at nearby restaurants, guests as well as the bar servers.

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3 hours ago, asen2asen said:

We were on the Breakaway March 17-24...Yes, it was Spring Break, yes, most every cabin level was sold out, yes, there were a b.u.n.c.h. of adults and kids on board. 

We never saw any crew member acting grumpy or negatively. The crew was simply working their butts off the entire time.

We have been on multiple NCL Ships, mega ships and the smaller ships....this was the 1st time ever we experienced difficulty getting drinks. The weather on this cruise was not the best... it was cold when we left New Orleans, it was on the cold side a couple days and it rained a couple days too. This put a strain on the indoor venues... I really felt sorry for the bartenders. Usually there were 2 bartenders at each bar. The bar was stacked most of the time 3-5 people deep. Guests were yelling out orders at the bartenders. People were yelling "I'm next-I'm next"!! A bartender came to me, asked for my order, as I began to give my drink order, a lady next to me yelled at me, told me how much longer she had been in line then I had been, then yelled at the bartender about being in line. This happened multiple times. People really forgot their manners at the pier!!!   

 

One thing I noticed on this ship is that the bar servers on this ship didn't have access to the back of the bar to help themselves gather "easy" stuff like glasses of wine, beer or waters. Pretty much they were standing in line with the rest of us. The bartenders were taking heat from the wait staff at nearby restaurants, guests as well as the bar servers.

this was similar to our experience 2 years ago during spring break.. What some do not realize is: when you book anytime in March until the day after Easter you will find kids all over as spring break varies from state to state and district to district. I don't remember so much getting a drink as a problem as I remember kids, kids everywhere. And like you, we hit questionable weather which, of course, added to the long lines and the crowds. We did see a lot of adults as well as kids who left their manners at home if they ever had any. 

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8 hours ago, newmexicoNita said:

this was similar to our experience 2 years ago during spring break.. What some do not realize is: when you book anytime in March until the day after Easter you will find kids all over as spring break varies from state to state and district to district. I don't remember so much getting a drink as a problem as I remember kids, kids everywhere. And like you, we hit questionable weather which, of course, added to the long lines and the crowds. We did see a lot of adults as well as kids who left their manners at home if they ever had any. 

 

I've been on multiple spring break cruises but this was the most kids I have ever seen on one. 🙂

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