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tripleboom

My Norwegian Breakaway Family Cruise Review - April 7, 2019

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Enjoying the review, pictures and the boy's excitement!  Makes me remember our first cruise!  It surely is magical!!

Your pictures are so crisp and clear.  Thanks for taking the time to take us all with you (in our minds anyway) on your cruise!!

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I am really enjoying your review.You are making great memories with your family.

 

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6 minutes ago, sargemrs said:

Enjoying the review, pictures and the boy's excitement!  Makes me remember our first cruise!  It surely is magical!!

Your pictures are so crisp and clear.  Thanks for taking the time to take us all with you (in our minds anyway) on your cruise!!

They really did have such a fantastic time!  They're already looking forward to the next one, but are more than a little hurt that Mom and Dad get to go on another before them. 😄

 

Most of the pictures I took were either stills taken from video shot with a GoPro Session camera or photos taken with my Sony DSC-WX300. It's probably a 6-year old camera now, and I bought it second hand from Craigslist, but it's compact size didn't sacrifice much in terms of quality, so it's been a runaway winner for me on every trip we take.

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1 hour ago, chevytrkr said:

Tripleboom, you should have written the Mueller report.  Like the detail.  Even has pictures and video.  Please continue.

Rich

Rich - 

In keeping with the Mueller report comment, I did make some updates to one of my photos...

 

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After an unbearable wait (Dad, are we moving yet?  What about now?  I think I felt it move. We've moving right? No? When are we going to move?), the thrusters fired and we were making our slow turn to the south.  The trip down the Mississippi and out into the gulf takes several hours, and we'd still be in the muddy Mississippi's waters well after dark tonight, but while we still had light we did enjoy some of the sights along the way.

 

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A considerably different look at St. Louis Cathedral compared to our up close view from the day before...

 

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Connor is an already an avid fan of all things military, so he was excited to see some gunmetal gray along our route.  Even if it is a ready reserve cargo vessel. ☺️

 

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You can see Connor's Splash Academy bracelet prominently here.

 

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Lots of ships were headed back up the Mississippi as we were on our way out. Quite a sight to behold.

 

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The boys were both a little uneasy about standing over the glass toward the back of The Waterfront on Deck 8. Truth be told, I know some adults made a little uneasy by standing over this glass too. 

 

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51 minutes ago, tripleboom said:

Rich - 

In keeping with the Mueller report comment, I did make some updates to one of my photos...

 

uaHeNp4.jpg

That’s cool.  You couldn’t tell what kind of ship that was. 😉

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What an awesome review!!! Keep it coming!

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Once we were off and running I did hit the record button on my GoPro that was now mounted to the balcony deck railing. It captured our slow turn and the first hour or two as we made our way down the river.

 

 

With lunch having barely settled and not being quite ready for dinner, we decided to head up for some mini golf.  By this time, the storm that was supposed to have hit during the sailaway party decided to rear its ugly head. A little bit of spitting rain, but the winds, especially up on this higher deck, really started to pick up.  After a round of "don't let the ball stop, just put it in the cup and keep moving" mini golf, we had a near miss with some of the not-so-local wildlife.

 

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Barely surviving this ordeal called for a trip to the buffet for burgers, mac & cheese, french fries, and crêpes for everyone before heading down to Splash Academy for the first night festivities.

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This night was the one aspect of the trip that had me really worried.  It was going to be make or break for our youngest, Landon, who is six years old.  Landon is extraordinarily fun-loving and very friendly once he gets to know someone, but in new situations or when in front of crowds, he gets really nervous bordering on outright scared.  We had been talking about Splash Academy for the past several weeks, reminding him of the fun activities planned, and that his brother (who was allllll about leaving us in the dust after we dropped him off) would be right in the same room as him, but he was very anxious about it.

 

So when 6:50 rolled around, we headed to Deck 12 forward to get into the line for check-in.  The line was probably 12-15 families deep when we arrived, and the doors were still shut. At 7 PM sharp the doors swung open and four staff members began getting everyone checked in.  As the line in front of us shrunk, Landon continued to get more and more nervous. After the staff member (Donkey Kong from Albania according to his name tag) swiped and returned the boys' and my stateroom cards, they were escorted by the staff to the internal stairs leading up to the 6-9 age group's (Seals) area.  Connor sprinted up the stairs, and Landon slowly trudged up them until he reached the landing, slowly turning, and giving us the saddest, verge-of-tears, puppy dog eyes that you've ever seen.  We gave him a bit more encouragement to go and have fun, and he slowly went up the steps.

 

Stacy and I headed down to Deck 6 and just walked around for a bit, giving Landon some time to settle in.  One of the great things that the Splash Academy staff does, is provide parents with a direct dial extension # that can be dialed from any house phone scattered throughout the ship.  After about 15-20 minutes, I picked up a house phone, called Splash Academy, and spoke with the fantastic Donkey Kong again (there's a sentence I didn't think I'd have reason to type).  I asked Mr. Kong if he'd be so kind as to check to be sure Landon wasn't off in a corner somewhere crying or upset.  Mr. Kong came back after a few minutes and said Landon was up and around, playing Gaga Ball and seemed to be having a great time.

 

***WHEW!!!!***

 

I wasn't surprised that Landon was having fun, but knowing he definitely was having fun allowed us to enjoy the rest of our evening.  So again, to the Rainbows, Unicorns, Donkey Kongs, etc. of Splash Academy: THANK YOU!!

 

Secure in the knowledge that our kids were having a blast, Stacy and I headed to the Headliners Club to grab a seat at Howl at the Moon, a wonderfully fun dueling piano bar located on Deck 6.  We had been to the same venue on the Escape, and this show quickly became one of our favorite things on board.  On this first night of the cruise, we didn't have much difficulty finding a seat 15 minutes before the show.  In fact I found us great seats right on the aisle about six rows back, sat down, and immediately saw the giant support pillar in the way of our view.  Oops!  So we scooted down a few seats and kept ourselves amused before the start of the show as 6-7 other couples saw the same seats we first sat in, planted themselves there, and then promptly moved to new seat from which they could actually see the stage. 😄

 

On this sailing, we thoroughly enjoyed Mark, Vince, and Whitney's musical stylings.  Talk about some supremely talented musicians!

 

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For one of the "Requests" (not to be confused with "suggestions" which do not come wrapped in U.S. currency of some sort), the men of the crowd were asked to come down front and center to serenade a woman celebrating her birthday by re-enacting the "Lovin' Feelin'" scene from Top Gun.  This young man (and Vince on the keys) did a great job! 😄

 

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At about 9:30 we decided to check out Syd Norman's to see how the rock 'n' roll cover band playing there was doing.  It was SRO in there, though it sounded great!  Maybe next time 🙂 

 

We opted for some nachos, and spinach and artichoke dip along with some cheesecake at O'Sheehan's instead, then wandered around for a bit, biding our time until the kiddos time at Splash Academy was up.

 

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Once 10:30 rolled around, we headed to Splash Academy where we picked up two, VERY excited young men and headed back to our stateroom. It had been an incredibly full day, and I could tell they were ready to conk out (and so were we truth be told).

 

Entering our stateroom for the night, we found the beds all made up for us, including the couch and pullman bed all set up.  Landon won the rock, paper, scissors match with his brother, so he got top bunk. Please note that before I could even think to take the picture below, our children, in true little boy fashion, had climbed all over and into the once nicely made beds.  Oh well!

 

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Upon arriving in our stateroom, I did leave a note for our cabin attendant that our boys would LOVE some towel animals each evening if possible. I knew from floating around the boards that there had been some recent changes in that policy on some of the ships, but I kept my fingers crossed that it'd work out for the boys' first cruise.  When we returned to the stateroom, we were very pleased to see this little guy waiting for us: a tiny mouse in a coffee cup.

 

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With that, we called it a day!  Day #1 down, and a Day at Sea ahead of us!

 

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And you thought your review was NOT going to be epic!  Way to go, loving it.

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5 hours ago, AmyJA said:

And you thought your review was NOT going to be epic!  Way to go, loving it.

We've got a long way to go before we hit epic!  lol!  But thanks for the encouragement!

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Day 2 - At Sea

 

For the first (and last as it turned out) time since we left home, we didn't bother to set an alarm for the next day. Knowing the week we had ahead of us, and knowing the hectic, full week ahead of us, we thought it wise to let everyone sleep in for a bit. We wound up getting up for the day around 9:00 or so, and headed up to the buffet to get some food in us. Before leaving the cabin though, I set the GoPro up on a rotating platform to capture some time lapse at sea. Another overcast day ahead of us it would appear.

 

 

Following breakfast with the family, Stacy took the boys to kill some time while I attended the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet. @chevytrkr did a fantastic job of putting this together in the weeks leading up to the cruise and it was great to see such a wonderful turn out!

 

Thanks @crewsin250 for the photo of the group!

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The Hotel Director and a significant portion of his staff attended and gave a wonderful talk, and made it very clear that if there was anything they could do within their power to make our cruise more enjoyable, they would do so.

 

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Following the Meet & Mingle, I headed back to the room where some boys were anxiously awaiting my return, and ready to go hit the pool deck.  So, we hit it, and hit it hard!  The next several hours flew by as the boys were in and out of the pool, and up and down the stairs and slides dozens of times each. 

 

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I wasn't about to let them have all the fun though!

 

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We had a fantastic day on the slides and in the pool!  This video provides you the highlights of the afternoon.

 

 

 

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The active day on the pool deck meant that we missed lunch altogether, but I didn't hear any complaints from the boys in that regard.  That said, we had planned to take the boys with us to Teppanyaki for supper that evening, and had made reservations for an early dinner accordingly.  We rotated everyone though the single shower in the room, hair & makeup were taken care of, and the nice outfits for Norwegian's Night Out were put on.  If we were going to get some nice family pictures, tonight was going to be the night. 🤞

 

We headed for Deck 6 and Teppanyaki, seeing the photographer's posts getting set up, but not quite ready for photo sessions yet.  We still had a bit of time before our seating, so I hopped around for a bit to take some additional photos around this beautiful area of the Breakaway.

 

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Everyone's favorite soup:

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With our reservation time approaching, I headed back to the the 678 Ocean Place stairs, and was thankful that I was traversing them while sober.  If I'd have opted for the UBP like so many others, then having a staircase/field sobriety test like this would have been pretty cruel!

 

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At any rate, the time had come, and it was time for dinner and a show!

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Posted (edited)

We arrived at Teppanyaki and after waiting for the group ahead of us to be seated, we were quickly escorted to our table.  We had a great chef that was equally great with the kids. Connor was excited for the filet mignon as he already likes a good steak.  Meanwhile, Landon opted for the macaroni & cheese from the kid's menu.  We had to pay the full price for Connor's meal, but Landon's kid's meal was complimentary. 

 

The whole process does take a fair amount of time, but we didn't have much planned for this particular evening, so the easy pace was just fine with us.  We just had to keep our fingers crossed that the boys would keep their shirts clean during the meal so we could still take pictures. 😬

 

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While we were waiting for the food Landon was determined to learn to use the chopsticks provided. I am barely competent with chopsticks when we go out for sushi once in a while, but teaching a 6-year old seemed well beyond my pay grade.  He was getting more and more frustrated, and was basically ready to give up when something clicked.  Behold, the chopstick master!

 

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Finally my shrimp had been slid onto my plate, and my steak was coming within a few moments.  That's when the moment that every family that goes out to dinner is well acquainted with.  

 

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Every. Dang. Time. 🤪  sid_9169 I gave them some privacy, but at least took the photo of the door in your honor!

 

Even with the potty break, our meal was pretty fantastic!  The best part was the chef would dole out a ton of rice, veggies, steak, shrimp, etc. to everyone, but would only slide a tiny bit to Connor.  Connor, to his credit, never complained though gave me a couple of hurt looks before the chef would circle back and give him a healthy dose of food. 😄  All the standard hibachi tricks were there aside from the onion volcano. But with a beating rice heart, flying eggs caught in the mouth (I went 2 for 2 I'll have you know), an egg dragon, etc. we were thoroughly entertained throughout the meal!

Edited by tripleboom

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Posted (edited)

Nice homage to Sid there 🤣

Edited by Von & John

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I’m going to have to get me a GoPro.  You’re videos sold me.  Didn’t know they could do time lapse and turn automatically.  Now I know what to get my wife for her birthday.  Thanks.

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1 hour ago, chevytrkr said:

I’m going to have to get me a GoPro.  You’re videos sold me.  Didn’t know they could do time lapse and turn automatically.  Now I know what to get my wife for her birthday.  Thanks.

The GoPro really has allowed me to get creative with my shots, but some of them do require some accessories to pull off. My turning time lapse shots in particular use this little guy.

 

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It's basically a glorified egg timer with a screw top that I use to secure the GoPro to. After I wind it up, it'll turn the whole camera along it's path. Simple enough thing that I should have though to have invented it first. Haha!

 

The other main accessory I utilize is this super flexible mount, the Joby Gorillapod. It allowed me to securely mount the GoPro to the balcony rail for the benefit of several of the shots I took.

 

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Posted (edited)

After our meal at Teppanyaki, we miraculously had no stains on anyone's clothes, so we set off to find one of the photographers scattered around the ship.  On this evening, we found one at the base of the central staircase and two in a couple of spots in the atrium/guest services area of the ship.  We wound up loving our photos taken near the stairs, and by the end of the week we had bought the 10-pack of photos so we could take the photo files themselves home with us.

 

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This next one was not our favorite picture of us, but the fact that the boys snuck back into the corner of the photo and photobombed us made this a pretty perfect family photo. 🤣 The best part was that we didn't even see them! It wasn't until we noticed them giggling to themselves while we were reviewing the photos at the photo shop that we noticed it!

 

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Edited by tripleboom

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Loving it!

Thanks for taking the time to do a fantastic review! Your family looks wonderful.

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After we finished up our family photos, it was time to run the kids back to the room for a change of clothes, and then off to Splash Academy. Tonight was a Survivor-style activity with physical challenges and such. Stacy and I had planned to try to get to Syd Norman's early enough to snag some seats, but karaoke was taking place beforehand, and it was pretty full in there already. We decided to circle back after a bit to try again, figuring that if we got there 30 minutes early, there'd be somewhere to sit.  NOPE!  So, apparently, get there and wait it out through the karaoke if you want a seat! Every time I walked by Syd's the music coming out was fantastic, so hopefully we can get there the next time we're on the Breakaway!

 

With nothing else much on the Daily that looked interesting, we decided to wander The Waterfront.  We didn't get to spend as much time there as we did in the past, but we'll definitely spend more time there when we're on again in May 2020.

 

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After relaxing on The Waterfront for a bit, we decided to finish off the night at O'Sheehan's. I can never get enough of these caramel brownie cheesecakes!

 

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One more trip past the chandelier...

 

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... Before picking up the boys and heading back to the room for the night.  Tomorrow?  Cozumel!!

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Day 3 - Cozumel

 

For the week leading up to the cruise I had been neurotically checking the weather for our day in Cozumel.  Thanks for the 100 minutes of free WiFi that was included as a perk at booking, I was able to continue neurotically checking while on board as well. 🤪  Unfortunately, we had a pretty high likelihood of thunderstorms during this planned beach day.  We had booked Playa Mia in Cozumel as it seemed to be an affordable option ($45/person) for a beach day plus roundtrip transportation. It would be our boys' first trip to the ocean, so we were hopeful that even if we got rained on some, they would still have a good time.

 

We woke up for a quick breakfast before heading down to the gangway. It was a brisk but mostly sunny start to the day. Someone was kind enough to take our picture as we were heading down the pier, but unfortunately I wasn't bright enough to remember to take my camera out of its bag much earlier.  Because the camera was still acclimated to our nicely air conditioned room, the moment I opened up the lens it completely fogged over.  Oops!

 

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After making it to the end of the pier, we provided our NCL Shore Excursion golden tickets and were pointed in the direction of the livestock pens... errr... the holding area for those awaiting transportation to the excursions offered through NCL. While waiting, we killed some time with some quick photos, and then killed time under a canopy with 100 of our closest friends as the rains began to come!

 

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After we had a little let up in the rain, we were all led up and through the Punta Langosta shopping area, and onto buses for the 15 minute ride to Playa Mia.

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18 hours ago, crusinnole89 said:

I'm loving this review, we'll be on the Breakaway in 3 months! 

Which sailing?  We're going 8/11, cannot wait!!!! Oh, and check pricing, it dropped again!!!

 

BTW, fantastic review so far, can't wait to see more!!!

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1
4 hours ago, YankeesFan4Life said:

Which sailing?  We're going 8/11, cannot wait!!!! Oh, and check pricing, it dropped again!!!

 7/21, so just a few weeks before you 🙂 I have been hunting down every Breakaway review I can find, hah!

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